I’ve been on auto-pilot many times as I’ve driven home from the grocery store. It’s not until I pull onto my street that I realize I can’t remember the last ten minutes and six miles. I’ve taken that route so many times I don’t think about when to turn, when to speed up, and when to slow down. Then I wonder . . . did I stop at the red light? Did I check for anyone crossing the sidewalk? Auto-pilot scares me.
In parenting, there are three types of auto-pilot:
- Where am I? You’re in a different neighborhood than you anticipated. Suddenly you look around and realize your child should have been potty-trained three months ago or he not only knows how to turn on the computer, but he also knows how to find his favorite cartoons and start watching them online! (Both are from experience.)
- I’m who? There are moments when you’re cooking dinner or cleaning bottoms (not at the same time!) when you wake up and realize, I’m the mom. These are my kids, and this is my responsibility!
- What am I doing? Auto-pilot can affect your mind, heart, and schedule. Your day starts off like any other, but soon you find yourself in the crazed middle of it, questioning how your life ended up so busy. Your mind is full of thoughts and worries that won’t stop, and your heart is burdened by too many things.
- Yes, you are in unfamiliar territory. (News flash—as long as your kids grow and change, you will always be in unfamiliar territory.)
- Yes, you are the mom . . . even though you still feel like the thirteen-year-old lip syncing to “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” inside.
- Yes, auto-pilot has plopped you in the middle of the Daytona 500, and the only way to exit the race is to figure out what good things you can cut out to make room for the best things.
Dear Weary Mom, there are a few things you need to know. First, every time you feel as if you’ve got life (and your kids!) figured out, something is going to change—but that’s OK! Change will happen, but we can turn to an unchanging God who is always there for us.
Second, no one feels prepared to be a mom. No one has her act together. Everyone has times when she feels like that teenager who just wants to relax, paint her toenails, and watch a chick flick. Don’t feel inadequate. Instead give yourself space to enjoy life . . . if even for an hour. No one can pour out without getting refreshed.
Finally, you don’t have to stay on the race track. Take time to turn off auto-pilot and really take a look around. When you feel lost, look to God and He will help guide your course. His path is so much easier than the one you’ve been spinning around, but you have to stop long enough to seek it—to seek Him. And it’s with Him that you’ll truly be found. And that you’ll find your way home.
Discover more of Tricia’s encouragement in God See You.
Click here to learn more about the gifted author Tricia Goyer