Being a mum and a wife, with God’s help
Linda Nnene shares her thoughts as a Christian on coping with the pressures of being a wife and mother in her 40’s.
I am still wide awake at 01:05. It has been a busy day but things have been constantly served up and the day seems to have just run away. Being a mum and a wife can frequently take its toll. Incessant demands, never ending chores and pressure to be the indefatigable super-mum, can create a weariness that tends to pull one down both physically and emotionally.
I believe our focus should be what we do on those occasions when we think “No one is looking out for me”, “No one acknowledges the things I do around here”, “I am exhausted”, “Get me out of here”. Need I go on? Do these statements resonate with you?
When, in your mid-40’s, some issues rise to the top of your priority list. We want to ensure that our children are safe, happy, content and doing well in every area. Do we need reminding that we still have many years to go until our children are 'fully sorted' and frankly does this ever happen? I see the 40s as a ‘changing time’ in my life but not the end of the striving.
There are inevitable changes that occur in our physical bodies. How do we cope? How do we move through perimenopause to the full-blown menopause? Suffice to say this is a treacherous time. It is unpredictable on so many fronts and has the potential to manifest quite severe adverse consequences.
My husband always says that society is built on the family unit. Stable families lead to a stable society. The wife's or mother's wellbeing are a key determinant of family stability. It would not be far wrong to say that the family unit is built on the female’s hormone! Think about it people, mums are jack of all trades –the chauffeur, secretary, receptionist, chef, pastoral leader/manager, husband helper / ego soother, school liaison officer, trouble-shooter and so much more. We are selfless. Therefore, when perimenopause to menopause comes it is often like an explosive. No one prepares you. Slowly the mummy-sagacity is moving on. We can feel this happening and so can the rest of the family.
The symptoms you may notice include anxiety, persistent low or variable mood, irritability, sleep difficulties, fatigue, aches and pains, forgetfulness or a lack of concentration, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, weight fluctuations, one’s belly becoming not so flat, hair and skin changes.
No amount of Christian praise and worship will miraculously make any of these symptoms disappear or tranquillise your nerves. We just need to prepare ourselves. This is one topic mothers do not talk about and it takes their daughters by surprise. We should be speaking about this to our daughters. However, I am still uncertain this would prepare us well enough for the change. The following steps will help make a difference.
Accept the change. We are unable to deny that we are experiencing changes in our bodies. Denying it can only affect us negatively, mentally. Accept the change and continue saying to yourself “I am beautiful, I have reached an amazing age and despite the changes I am beautiful”. As a Christian, I go through scriptures that help me. Philippians 1:6 tells me categorically tells us ‘He who began a good work in me (and you) will perfect it.’ What a promise!
Get closer to your spouse. Your husband still loves you the way you are. You both are going through changes however you need to both remain committed. This means your journey is his journey. I am still learning to depend on his robust assessment but I am glad we are going through this journey together, developing in every area of our lives together.
Learn to relax and reduce stress. Exercise is such a wonderful thing. We all are extremely busy but we must find time to exercise. A mix of exercises will be good for us. Do not forget your pelvic exercises!
Chat Woman to Woman. I am completely blessed that I have my mother whom I run to when I need to chat, gain objective knowledge, gossip and more. I can speak to my mum about anything and everything. When we initially chatted about perimenopause, her response was “Oh I went through it, every woman goes through it”. We laughed and the conversation began. Every young woman needs an older wiser woman who can teach, mentor and show by example. The older woman has been on this road and will be the right person to encourage and inspire you. The bible speaks of this in Titus 2:3-5.
Seek professional support. For those of us who believe, my message here is trust in God through the medical professionals and consider their diagnosis. Seeking professional help does not mean you have no faith. God uses medical professionals to provide skill, proficiency aegis and care. You may uncover other diagnoses through medical assessment and testing for anaemia, cholesterol, diabetes, and thyroid.
Develop a mindset. Our disposition and mental attitude will determine our responses to situations. Each day I reflect on the positives that have worked well. It could be the most mundane things. You have been suffering from hot flushes, weight gain, mood swings. So what?! Think positive thoughts by being aware of what you say to yourself. Be grateful with your body and your health. We must also learn to have some ‘me time’ where you set aside time for you and you alone.
Practice Gratitude. Celebrate the fact that you are alive and well.
For those of us who are married perhaps it is also time to focus on our husbands. He may also be confused and concerned. I have to sometimes remind myself that he is also going through ‘my uncertainties’ so I must try and be nice, friendly, patient but mostly treat him with love.
The truth is that we are all growing up, developing and changes will occur. When this happens let us embrace it. There is life beyond this and I choose to be happy and celebrate. I am still realising this. Love and much blessings to you.
Ike and Linda Nnene live in Norwich and worship at Soul Church. Ike is a GP and Linda is a teacher at CNS School, and they are both passionate gospel musicians. They have a passion for marriage, family, wellness and personal development training.
They have a blog called Power and Beauty - www.ikeandlinda.org
To find out more e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The views carried here are those of the author, not of Network Norfolk, and are intended to stimulate constructive and good-natured debate between website users.