What Man Can Relate to a Stay-at-Home Mom?

by monthly contributer, Natalie Didlake

Can  You Believe He Is Only 6 months old?

I sat down and made a list of all the rigors of wife- and motherhood I could possibly think of. There are…A LOT!

  • Exhaustion
  • Feeling alone or isolated from the outside world
  • The struggle for regular, healthy rest and refreshment
  • Having too many things to do
  • Grief over your children’s rebellious hearts toward you and God, sometimes even frustration or anger
  • Changes in your physical body due to childbirth/care and age
  • The minute-by-minute flow of daily, constant demands
  • Loss of a sense of control over your life in general
  • Worries about the poor character you are passing on to your kids by example
  • Loss of a sense of usefulness in ways you used to enjoy
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of mental/emotional rest
  • Loss of time with husband
  • Loss of a sense that your husband relates to your experience as a wife/mother, perhaps feeling lonely/isolated even in your own home
  • Rejected and undervalued by our culture
  • General despair and frustration
  • Feeling distant from God because of all these imposed losses!

Whew! I’m ready for that list to be done. Won’t be re-reading that again! Too many of these hover over my head daily like a black Eeyore-cloud, following me everywhere I go.

There are so many days I can’t wait for my kids to nap so the house is quiet, for everybody to go to bed so I can take a break from meeting needs, sometimes…for everybody to grow up and leave!

I used to think the only one who really understood was a fellow mom. And, really, what help is that? A friend with 3 or 4 kids can’t do much but sympathize with my lack of sleep!

About a year ago, as I read through the gospels, I began noticing incidents in Jesus’ everyday life that startled me. Because they were very similar to the incidents that sometimes make my life sticky, as a stay-at-home-mom. So I started a list of all the troubles Jesus endured, all of them eventually culminating on the cross. Here it is:

Jesus was:

  • Underappreciated
  • Misunderstood
  • Exhausted
  • Physically worn down and destroyed
  • Rejected
  • His gifts and abilities were often ignored or discredited, and later totally rejected/wasted by the people who killed him
  • Cut off from friends, family, and the outside world
  • Bore the weight of the sins of the world, an impossibly huge demanding burden, on his shoulders, to hell for us.
  • Lost all rest, well-being, comfort, closeness to God (physically, spiritually, and emotionally)
  • Was rejected by his culture
  • Totally lost control of his life and circumstances
  • Felt total despair
  • Was totally alone

So, there is a man who understands! Even when I’m in the trenches, poopy diapers a-plenty, lack of time, running on zero sleep, with guests coming over to eat the dinner I haven’t cooked yet. The remarkable thing about Jesus was, he suffered stress, despair, and isolation, but not because he doubted God (like I do) and believed he had no choice but to deal with it alone (like me).  He CHOSE to take it all on, so we wouldn’t have to.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Galatians 3:12)

More than before (since I made that list), my mind turns to Jesus when strain, stress, or tiredness creeps up on me. More than before, I don’t mind so much that it’s there. It crept up on Jesus, and he let it. He took it on for me. He understands! He’s is certainly my example for sacrificial motherhood, but oh so much more. His perfect love and life go on record for me. He’s my stand-in….better than a mom-friend!

About NDidlake

Natalie Didlake is the mother of three lively little ones, Sabrina (age 5), Roarke (age 3), and Alexia (age 2). She has been married to the winsome and brilliant Aaron for 6 years. They live in Mississippi, where they still have no clue how to be "southern." Natalie's goals are to bring the gospel to bear on every ounce of womanhood, love and enjoy her family, and maybe capture some of it in writing. In between, Natalie likes to squeeze in cooking, blogging, taking pictures of her cute kids, couponing, and saving oodles of money by bargain-hunting. Natalie blogs at Guarded by the Gospel.

51 Responses to What Man Can Relate to a Stay-at-Home Mom?

  1. Sarah August 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Thank you so much for this, it really is something that I have needed lately. As a mom of a 3 year old, 2 year old and 8 month old, I have really struggled lately with all sorts of emotions. You really named every single one of them and I cried as I read your blog! I have bookmarked it for reading on days that I know will come when I need a moment clarity. I passed it onto my other SAHM/WAHM friends as I hope it will help them in their daily journey as well. Thank you again.

    • Natalie August 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

      No problem, Sara. Mine are 5, 4 and 2. My most difficult time as a mother so far was when my children were the ages of yours. God bless you as you do your best to love your children.

    • Cdub September 26, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      I second this Sarah!!! (I have a 3, 2, 1 and 3 month old) I stumbled across this article last week, after a week full of tears and gnashing of teeth. : ) I actually started crying uncontrollably when I read this. It could have been written by me. Honestly, its a little hard to look at. It did help me not to feel so sorry for myself and bitter with everyone who I think has it it easier than me. I hope to remember this must be only as small fraction of what Jesus must have felt and that I can focus on this when I pray. (ha ha with all that spare time I have to pray!…) and not to feel so sorry for myself (see previous comment) It is very easy to become bitter and having babies in close succession like you do intensifies the experience. However everyone who was in our situation and is older now says it gets MUCH easier very soon. I have no idea if this is true, because I’m not there yet. But Lord I hope so!!! : )

  2. Isabelle August 29, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Thanks a lot Natalie for showing that I wasn’t alone. I had a wonderful time as a youth being able to live & do so much for the Lord. But as a stay at home mom things have changed so much. I often think that the time that I spend travelling & taking care of the sick & weak & doing missionary work was so much easier & fulfilling than simply staying at home taking care of the kids & having to deal with all the screaming, etc 24/7 . A lot of times it feels like it’s a waste of time , time that could have spend to go earn some good money [I used to work] or go to places doing missionary work or something of that sort. I do know theoretically its simply a bad way of thinking. I keep praying to my loving Father to give the grace to be able to understand & accept his will for my life.

  3. Tamara Michel August 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    Phew, I am so glad to hear I am not the only one. Sometimes I do feel alone. Thank you for the encouraging words.


  4. Ranjeet Sonone August 24, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    I came to this post from my wife’s mailbox, and it just blessed me. It was so convicting to see that, yes, people will fail us but Jesus does not. It also was a reminder, that as a husband I have to continue to love my wife like Christ loved her – and even if I cannot and should not try to replace what Christ provides to her – my calling as a husband is to do all that Christ calls me to do, in leading and loving sacrificially. That is easy to write…:-)
    We all, including us husbands, are under construction, but that’s no excuse to not continue to provide for the emotional needs of our wives – we were made one for a reason. So, even if Godly wives will quietly find comfort in Jesus Christ when their husbands put them down or do not live up to the love that Christ calls them to do – hold your husbands accountable to the calling, and gently remind them. Because when husbands love their wives as Christ loved them (and it is not a command without any help from the Lord – he helps through the Holy Spirit) – amazing things happen in the marriage, and it starts becoming glorious for His purpose and His work, in and through the marriage – impacting other lives. I wrote about seeking Lord’s help on being a husband, and every time I read it, it convicts me all over again. You can read it here: http://noconversion.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/jesus-teach-me-to-be-a-husband/

    And, thanks for (indirectly) reminding us husbands also, that yes Jesus is the true joy giver and source of comfort and peace, and yet, he also calls husbands to sacrificial love in the marriage.

  5. Tammie@SimpleHealthyTasty August 24, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    So, so TRUE! And so good to have a reminder! There is always someone I can turn to and who understands! We can’t be reminded of that too often! Thanks for a great post!

  6. Seamingly Sarah August 24, 2011 at 4:21 am #

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. My 3 year old woke my 5 month old at 4:30 AM today and by 7:30 AM I was already losing my temper and my mind. You said everything I was feeling and I didn’t even know it. Thank you! Thank you God too!

  7. nancy broyles @ Real Food Allergy Free August 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Love this! Thank you! I am sharing with my other sahm friends.

  8. Bri August 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    I really needed this today! It’s something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately and this post really helped me :) I need to focus more on what God has done for me than my pity list. It’s so easy for us to fall into self deprecation or feelings of being alone, but if we can focus instead on how amazing God’s gift is to us…I think it makes it easier to stay on track. It also helps to have reminders that we are called to a higher path than the one much of our society decides to take.

  9. Duise August 23, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    WOW, I just went through this this last week and last night was the icing on the cake. I was going to make some bread dough and pizza dough using Kamut, and I remember looking at what I believe was your website last week about incorporating Kamut into the dough. That’s the reason I thought I was coming to your website this morning. Man was I wrong, the Holy Spirit is really speaking to me today. Thank you for sharing this. I hope you don’t mind if I print this up to study and remind me of who He is and What He has done and endured.

  10. Messy Wife August 23, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Thank you for having the list written down. It made me felt better that I am not the only one feeling this way, often guiltily. After all, we are not going through some special hardship.

    When my second child was 2 before my last one was conceived, I worked part-time. Although I have all the reasons in the world why I should work, deep inside my heart I knew I was trying to escape from the day-to-day struggles as a stay home mom. Then, during a worship, the praise team sang “You could have run away, but instead you stay…” referring to Jesus on the Cross. My tears just went down asking myself, “how could I run away from my very own kids when Jesus would choose to sacrifice himself for a sinner like me?” (Don’t take me the wrong way, I just felt God had planned for me to stay home, I am not imposing this to other mothers. And I highly respect working moms)

    Yes, Jesus will forever be our example no matter what kind of situation we are in!

    Having said that, I do believe that we should also seek our husbands’ understanding. I am terrible at this, but yet, I believe it can and should be done. In the rare occasion that I was able to draw similarity between my situation to his, not only did I let him understand me but also let him feel being understood. It was a fond memory to keep.

    • Natalie August 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm #


      Yes, I agree we should try to connect with our husbands. Always on the foundation of our mutual faith in Christ, and because he forges the connection between us! An excellent task to continually work on, once we are firmly established in Christ.

  11. Rebecca August 23, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    I’ve been throwing a pity party for myself too, and I’ve only got one kid so far!I sure needed this reminder to help me get out of myself… God help us to have attitudes of thankfulness!

  12. Melissa August 23, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    I can totally relate! In fact, my two year old was in timeout as I read this post! Thanks for the reminder that Jesus is always here and I need to call on Him more.

  13. Nancy August 23, 2011 at 5:10 am #

    While I appreciate the fact that so many women seem to be encouraged by this post, in my opinion, it is a spiritual cupcake. It’s pretty, and tastes good going down but there are no lasting healthy benefits to it.
    To compare staying home with your precious children to what Jesus suffered for us is amazing to me. If you are fortunate enough to be staying home with your children and you are all eating everyday, you are fortunate enough. I know what I am talking about. I have 5 children, the last one with cerebral palsy who will probably never leave home. During her worst health years I stood with her in my arms during the long night hours repeating to myself that God gives me everything I need. If I needed sleep He would give it to me. I think , in the United States, that many times we confuse need with want.
    One last thing, then I will bother you no more. On your list, you stated that “Jesus lost all control
    If you are referring to when He was crucified, this is not accurate. In John 10:17-18, He states ” no one takes my life from Me, but I lay it down on my own initiative”
    The God I trust never loses control, not for 1 second, ever.

    • Natalie August 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm #


      First, thank you for your reference to John 10 by way of correction. To say that Jesus “lost control of his life and circumstances” was not what I intended, and it was sloppy writing. Better word choice would have been “submitted” or “given up” control. Thank you for catching my error and clarifying so that no one would be misled. I totally agree with you that God never loses control!

      Secondly, I apologize for leaving out some important qualifications in this post. I can see how, from your experience, you would read it as fluff. It can be tricky to cram everything in less than 1000 words. I cringe to think how trite my list might sound to someone who was deeply suffering. I hope I can briefly give context here:

      1. Staying home with children is certainly not suffering. The cause of lots of sinful whining over spiritually insignificant matters, sure. I’m sure EVERY mother is guilty of that! Whining and complaining are sinful and silly, but they need to be seriously addressed and corrected in Christ. That was one intention of this post.
      2. My other intention was to speak to the times mothers find themselves hurting or suffering due to something outside their personal sin problems. Affliction could be anything that poses an outside threat to our faith, whether physical, spiritual, mental, etc. Suffering includes more than being beaten or thrown in jail. John Piper says, “ The pain that happens to you in the path of obedience to Christ is suffering with Christ.” (His message here helped me form mental categories for the things that have happened to me, and know how to handle them.) Those times, also, we need to identify with and draw strength from Jesus, so that we don’t poison our children with our discouragement or isolation. No matter what form, outside circumstances threaten to steal the joy and grace from mothering, the same way our sin tendencies do.

      Grouping these together was probably confusing. Again, my apologies for sloppy writing. Essentially, the solution is the same for all of us: go to Jesus.

      “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19

    • Grace August 23, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

      Nancy, I second what you said. I especially agree with this statement: “in the United States, that many times we confuse need with want.” My husband and I are missionaries in a third world country and we see so many people who live with almost nothing! It makes me ashamed for ever complaining. While I realize that we all go through difficult times and we definitely need to turn to Jesus, we also need to quit feeling sorry for ourselves and realize that God has given us SO MUCH! We need to learn to be thankful.

      • Bri August 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

        Nancy and Grace,

        I think you’re sort of missing the point. I don’t think the author is saying that we are justified in our complaints, but rather pointing out that we need to remember what Jesus sacrificed and seek Him in trying times. No, we aren’t starving (most likely), no a sleepless night is equal to crucifixion, and no we aren’t destitute b/c of the trials of motherhood. HOWEVER…it is important for all of us, regardless of circumstance, to remember how much God sacrificed for us if for no other reason than to help us gain perspective. We NEED God and His power and mercy to make it through this life no matter how much other stuff or money we have.

        I agree that American’s can easily lose perspective, but that doesn’t make trivial issues any less draining or harmful to our spiritual life. I agree that we need to be thankful for what we have, but there are times when we all struggle and need to remember that we have someone to turn to who can help us. At least these are the things I took away from this message.

        I am so thankful for all I have AND all I don’t have (which is a lot on both counts). But that thankfulness doesn’t always comfort me when I’m struggling…especially struggling with feelings of inadequacy. These are the times when it is VITALLY important for me to lean on Christ and look to His example.

        And sometimes…we do just need a “cupcake” :)


        • Linda August 26, 2011 at 1:38 am #

          I agree. A cupcake a day certainly fills the tummy.

          But seriously, ‘suffering’ is context-bound and relative. The seemingly trite difficulties of a stay-at-home mum in a rich western country are still difficulties, and are still real. If someone is feeling pain, it’s not our place to judge whether they have any right to. It is what it is.

          I don’t think it’s helpful to make mothers who are doing their best feel guilty and imply their suffering/hardship isn’t real, or that they should suck it up and realise how fortunate they are. Particularly from the perspective of “And I should know”….. You don’t know. Unless you’re me. Or Her. Or Her, you just don’t and can’t know.

          Yes, if we all had the chance to visit places where there people have so little, I’m sure it would help with perspective. Absolutely. But pain is still pain.

  14. Jill Savage August 23, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    Natalie, I loved this post and I think you would absolutely love my book Real Moms…Real Jesus.
    It’s exactly about this topic! It’s published by Moody and you can find it on amazon or on the Hearts at Home website: http://www.hearts-at-home.org.

    • Natalie August 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      Thank you Jill! It looks lovely. Can’t wait to check it out.

  15. Lisa Suit August 23, 2011 at 3:40 am #

    Thank you SO much for this post!! It was exactly what I needed to hear!

  16. Evelien August 23, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    Wow, very nice and strong post!!
    Never looked at it this way :)

    I always think “but Jesus wasn’t a woman so He can’t know what I feel”… Guess I was looking at it the wrong way! Thank you so much, I was looking for an answer to that question!!

  17. Pat August 22, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Wonderful post.
    I’ve been encouraged.

  18. Phoebe August 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Wow. So true and so beautiful. Thank you.

  19. Tara August 22, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Thank you for such a lovely, refreshing post! Oh how much I need Jesus!

  20. Brooke August 22, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    And now I’m in tears, again, today. Thanks for the encouragement. And more importantly, thanks for the reminder that Jesus endured/withstood trials far worse than ours. And how he loves us so much is a great reminder. :)

  21. Becca August 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Thanks so much..that list sure hit home for me. I know I struggle with the lack of understanding I get from my husband and as much as I love my mom friends they are all too busy to share in the daily struggles. But you got to the answer. Thanks for that. Reminds me of a book written by a widely respected Christian woman here in my town…Real Moms, Real Jesus: Meet the Friend Who Understands, by Jill Savage. She heads up an organization called Hearts at Home to support stay at home moms. The conferences are great should you ever get a chance to go to one. But I think I need to finally buy her book after reading your post today.

  22. Paula August 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    Great post! Thanks so much for sharing!

  23. Ali H. August 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    The same situation applies for working mothers. People feel when we get home we are just hanging out with the kids. Quite the opposite! We never get off work as once we leave work we have to go home and work! We still have to cook dinner, clean the house, mow the lawn, bath children, pack lunches, do homework, laundry, play taxi, grocery shop, run errands. Instead of having all day to accomplish the home tasks, we only get a few hrs to squeeze it all in each evening. Working mothers never have time to have social time with friends or even time with extended family. We are either trying to shove a whole’s day worth of homelife tasks into a few evening hrs or working. Life is just tough. :-(

  24. amy August 22, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    very, very encouraging. thanks so much! this is profound.

  25. Maria August 22, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Here’s a better link to the hymn, “So Send I You,” with the story behind it.


    • Maria August 22, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      My comment seems to keep vanishing every time I try to post it. Here’s what I said about this hymn:

      “So Send I You” captures the heart of Natalie’s post. All the hard things we’ve experienced, He has already experienced. The first version of the song describes some of those difficult things we’re called to do, as moms or as followers of Jesus. Then that convicting last line–”As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you.” Makes me weep every time I hear it.

      The second version of this missionary hymn tells of the rewards and the victory and the triumph of serving where He has called you.

      Read it, mamas, women, followers of Jesus, and be encouraged.

  26. Sarah August 22, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Thank you for this post! It was just what I needed to come back to what’s important after a Monday morning of toddler wrangling. What a blessing. And what a blessing it is to draw strength from Jesus, who DOES understand everything.

  27. elizabeth August 22, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Oh man. I have been throwing such a pity party for myself. Thank you for this post.

  28. Sarah August 22, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    (…guests coming over to eat the dinner I haven’t cooked yet…) – Haha!! It made me laugh even though when it happens it’s SOOO not funny!
    I am a stay-at-home mom “running on zero sleep” these days – thanks for the encouragement!

  29. Joy August 22, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    Thank you. I have been struggling with many of the things on your list recently. My husband is deployed, my family is 2500 miles away, & most of my friends have lifestyles very different from my own. At 27 weeks pregnant with a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old, I often feel like no one understands my daily life. I desperately needed this reminder that I am only alone when I choose to be. Your words were exactly what I need to face today.

    • Sabrina Morrow August 22, 2011 at 9:07 am #

      I completely understand your situation. My husband was deployed and returned home only a month ago. I understand the struggles you face and the thoughts and emotions you deal with on a daily basis. Take comfort in knowing that although you feel alone, you are not. There are other families who are in the same situation. If you need someone to vent to, please let me know.

  30. Wonderwiper August 22, 2011 at 6:53 am #

    Beautiful. Thank you for that MUCH needed truth!

  31. Tara August 22, 2011 at 5:03 am #

    thank you so much for this post! that’s exactly how i feel sometimes! i’m so thankful that i read this post today and i am a follower from this day forward!

  32. Sarah M August 22, 2011 at 4:43 am #

    Very thought provoking and so worth the read, I’m reposting to my FB page! Thank you for this gentle reminder.

    Sarah M

  33. Bethany August 22, 2011 at 4:28 am #

    Anyone who says that a stay-at-home parent does not work, has no idea what they are talking about! You ladies–and my husband who is a SAHD–contribute something that is worth every bit as much (or more!) than a monetary income.

  34. Amber August 22, 2011 at 4:25 am #

    Thank you for this post! It’s just what I needed on a Monday morning to change the way I was looking at things.

  35. Laura Boggs August 22, 2011 at 4:18 am #

    You have blessed me today, Natalie. We expect our man to understand, and once in a while we feel darn silly in the company of other males. They just look at us like we need a nap or a pat on the head sometimes. But the Son of Man completely gets it. We are not alone. Thank you for your words.

  36. Allyson @ A Heart for Home August 22, 2011 at 3:20 am #

    Thank you so much for this wonderful reminder. I’m so thankful that I can lean on Jesus through the tough times as a stay-at-home-mama to many little ones.

  37. Cheryn August 22, 2011 at 3:16 am #

    Thank you so much for this. How I needed it.

  38. Heather August 22, 2011 at 2:48 am #

    This was very well said, and timely for me, as I have been concentrating hard on that first list. Thank you for the reminder to lean on Jesus.

  39. Sharon August 22, 2011 at 1:59 am #

    Thank you for this great reminder! I’ve been feeling the stresses of being pulled in many directions lately, too. My oldest is in college. We started homeschooling when my youngest started kindergarten and this will be our 11 th year. It seems like there are so many people who want a claim on my time that I have none left for a thought of my own. I wouldn’t change a thing about our homeschool days but I’d like to rethink all the extra things and limit them. Anyway, I needed to read this today!

  40. Penny August 22, 2011 at 1:40 am #

    Thank you Natalie.
    I needed this.