The “I Can’t” Days

There were so many days when I had a baby laying on my chest waiting to be nursed and a toddler pulling on the hem of my pants. There were so many moments when I was overwhelmed with all of the directions my heart was being pulled and all of the needs I could not possibly meet.

There were so many I Can’t Days in our little one story brick home. All the needs of those tiny people in my arms and at my feet overwhelmed me. There were tears and many disappointing sighs.

There were voices. “You are a smart, educated, with-it woman, why can’t you conquer… why can’t you be one step ahead of the runny noses and the diapers and the toys that need to be mended and fixed.”

There were moments when the “I Can’ts” were loud and the “I Cans” were soft.

Being a mom with little children is the hardest thing I have ever done. The boundaries of who I thought I was and the things which I thought I could handle have been nudged, pushed and eventually those boundaries stretched out wider and grew bigger in my young days of motherhood.

The “I Can’t Days” have made me into a better woman. It is horrible at the time, when your boundaries are being nudged, you feel like you just can’t give anymore. You feel like if someone stretches you any further, part of you might just break off. But over time, with that tiny baby on your chest and that toddler pulling on the hem of your pants, you learn that little by little you actually can.

You learn that you can stretch further than you thought. It hurts to grow in the process. I have grown with many tears. But in the hurt and the stretch you get stronger and you learn to punch the “I Can’ts” right in the nose. Right where it smarts.


Little by little and day by day you learn that you are more than you thought you were when you started this whole journey called motherhood. You find yourself loving in ways you once thought you were incapable of at the beginning of the journey. As you stretch in the “I Can’ts” you learn that you can.

You can care for one child. You can care for two… and then three… and four and beyond. You can survive on 20 minute bursts of sleep between feedings and children getting sick in their beds. You can love something when it is tantruming on the floor and acting unlovable.  You can survive the long days while you are counting the years as short.

Motherhood changes you. It morphs you into a better version of yourself. You learn that you are more selfless than you thought, you learn that you can love bigger and your gag reflex slowly fades away. (See: Why I Have Been Politely Declining You Dinner Invitation)

You learn you can.

You learn you were made specifically for this journey.

And over time the “I Cans” become a little louder and the “I Can’ts” seem to soften.

You become thankful for the “I Can’t Days” because you know that those were the moments when God was refining you. Gently showing you that He made you for this journey and gently showing you that you can do more than you ever thought you could.

Happy Mother’s Day to every woman out there walking with me in the “I Can’t” days and learning, little by little, that we actually can love more than we ever thought we were capable of.

You were made for the journey.

You can.

One thought on “The “I Can’t” Days

  1. Darlene Haun says:

    Sorry, Rachel I tried to “like” this one but somehow I am off your list, my e-mail address/password no longer allows me to comment. As an adoptive mother of five (now adult-aged) children,  I would like to add one other word of wisdom.  Stress.  It is what you make of it.  Stress is not caused by the stuff that life throws at you, it is caused by your reaction to it. Feeling overwhelmed is not how about many little hands are tugging at your pantlegs, but it is shaped by how you react to all those pullings.  I wish I could have been savvy to that tip when I had all those emotionally delayed kids living under my roof.  It sounds like you are reaching that savvy conclusion much quicker than I did. The old Quaker saying is so true, “we get too soon old and too late smart”. Darlene Haun From: One With The Pastor To: Sent: Friday, May 8, 2015 10:14 AM Subject: [New post] The “I Can’t” Days #yiv7171506868 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7171506868 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7171506868 a.yiv7171506868primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7171506868 a.yiv7171506868primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7171506868 a.yiv7171506868primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7171506868 a.yiv7171506868primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7171506868 | onewiththepastor posted: “There were so many days when I had a baby laying on my chest waiting to be nursed and a toddler pulling on the hem of my pants. There were so many moments when I was overwhelmed with all of the directions my heart was being pulled and all of the needs I c” | |


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