Mom Life

3 Things to Remember on the Hard Days

Some days it’s easy to become discouraged as a mom. Whether it’s a child making bad choices, siblings not getting along, or the whining…the non-stop whining. Sometimes I’m just one tantrum away from losing my mind.

Often times, the struggle can begin to wear me down. Each battle seems to suck the life right out of me, and soon I begin to wonder if I’m failing at this Mom gig.  Where did I go wrong? Why can’t my kids get it together? 

The sibling battles, the random disobedience, the tired tantrums are all very common {unfortunately}. I wish I had better news. Like “follow these three steps to have perfect children!”

But alas, that is not possible. Because difficulty is necessary. It’s a part of life. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” I believe our children do exactly this for us as parents. We once lived for ourselves and our own needs, and now we have dependents who rely on us to meet their needs. It isn’t always easy, but it helps us develop a servant heart.

If we keep reading in Proverbs, verse 19 tells us, “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” If I’m being honest, sometimes my heart needs a reality check.

These are three things I often need to remind myself when my children are struggling—and I’m close to losing my mind.

 

  1. Children are Tiny Humans, Not Tiny Robots

I know this may seem hard to believe, but our children are in fact small humans. And I often forget that, due to their human nature, children are guaranteed to get grouchy when under certain circumstances. For example, when my children are tired or hungry, they are going to act grouchy…it’s almost a 100% guarantee. How do I know? Because when I’m feeling tired or hungry, I get grouchy too. This is not a product of my adulthood, but it is a direct result of my human nature. Not only should I expect it, but I need to be willing to offer grace when it happens.

Children feel tiredness, hunger, sadness, and disappointment just like we do, simply because they are human. Should they really be faulted for doing so? Why is it so easy for me to forget that they feel the same feelings I feel? Although I have not yet learned how to navigate all of my own emotions, I often expect my children to be able to. I cannot always communicate exactly what I’m feeling, yet I request my children demonstrate this skill.

I need to remember, these may be tiny people, but they are not tiny robots. They have big, human emotions. I read once that when our children are facing big emotions, they need us to share our calm and not our storm. There is so much truth in those words!

Let’s not forget, humans are sinful by nature. Not a single one of us is perfect. Grace is necessary in parenting because it allows children to make mistakes and learn from them. I receive grace from God when I mess up, and I need to extend that same grace to my children.

I’ve learned the more aware I am of the grace I receive, the more likely I am to offer grace to the people in my life. We are all human and all humans are in need of grace.

 

  1. Your Child’s Behavior is Not a Reflection of Your Parenting

This is a big one, especially when my kids were much younger. The trouble is, early childhood is spent learning and testing boundaries and developing an understanding of consequences. Ultimately, our children learn right from wrong from us, but they are still left make their own choices. As much as we may like them to be, our children are not puppets on a string. We can lead and guide and coach and encourage. But we are not the keeper of our children’s choices, and we are not responsible for their misbehavior. Hear me, I am not saying to throw your hands up in the air and claim it isn’t your problem. I’m saying that we have a level of responsibility to our children, but we cannot control their every move. In the same way, we should not feel guilt or shame when our kiddos are disobedient, as they inevitably will be.

  1. The State of Your Child’s Heart is What Matters Most

This idea is what got me through some difficult seasons with my kiddos. Have you ever had days where you seemed to be disciplining more than not? Where one child seemed to need more guidance and redirection than normal? Where your sweet and innocent child seems to have been replaced with a monster? (There, I said it).

We have walked through many seasons of behavior struggles in our last 9 years of parenting. There have been beautiful days, and hard days. Peaceful days and stressful days. Days full of joy, and days that would never end. But ultimately there was one truth that helped me get through the rough seasons:  no matter how poor their choices, my child’s heart is good. I have had to remind myself of the beautiful faith my child has in Jesus. The way she loved to do things for other people. The way she was kind to strangers, and had a servant’s heart. I had to remember that she loved making cards for me and sharing things with her sisters. Focusing on these truths reminded me that her heart was good, even when her behavior was not. Knowing that her heart was good helped me navigate through the difficult seasons—because I was able to discern who she was as a person. This gave me great hope for the future, and gave me encouragement that we would survive this difficult season.

 

Being a parent is the most incredible, challenging, rewarding, and infuriating thing I will ever do. We are all doing our very best on this parenting journey.

The most important thing I can give myself {and my child} is grace.

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