Mom Life

Confessions from a Recovering Yeller

If your kids are like mine, they have a love/hate relationship with each other. They can be the best of buddies, which warms my heart and makes me feel like I’m winning at parenting. But they can flip the switch into sibling squabbles in no time at all. Sometimes one person takes something that belongs to another sister, or sometimes it is as drastic and terrible as someone looking at the other sister. You guys, girl drama is a real thing. I covet your prayers.

If I’m being honest, I have to tell you that my parenting abilities swing from the same pendulum as my girls’ ability to get along. Some days I’m rocking this Mom thing. I am patient. I speak softly. I encourage. Some days I Mom like a boss.  My patience is in abundant supply, and my self control is on point.

But due to the fact that I’m just as human as my children, I too have days that I struggle. I sometimes lose my cool. That’s right. I’m a recovering yeller. And every so often (more often than I would like to admit) I still struggle with controlling my temper. I guess I think that if they didn’t listen the first 72 times I asked them to do something, perhaps it was because they couldn’t hear me, and I should say it louder. You guys, it’s never because they can’t hear me. As it turns out, yelling doesn’t work. And sometimes, being the human that I am, I  need help in the Fruit of the Spirit department, and I often struggle with lack of self control…which usually results in yelling.

The other night, I was putting my angels to bed, and they were overly tired and struggling to get along. I was feeling extra patient and offering grace by the truck loads because I knew my girls were just so tired…and I’m grouchy when I’m tired, so I should expect the same from my children. One of my daughters snapped at her sister, raised her voice and yelled something in anger.

I immediately responded: “Honey, I’m right here. I’m on your side. If you have a problem you’re struggling to solve, just come to me. I’ll help you solve it instead of trying to solve it in your anger.”

As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew. It was like a giant light bulb turned on over my head like a cartoon character from the 90s. I immediately realized…This is what God thinks towards me. I wonder how many times my Heavenly Father has thought, “Girl, please. I have this. Let me help you. I’m right here. I’m on your side. Let me help you solve this without anger…turn to me…you don’t need to yell.”

It was like a punch in the gut and a breath of fresh air all at the same time. The Holy Spirit is funny that way.

One of the verses the girls all have memorized {because we have needed it so many times} is Ephesians 4:29. It says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” When one of the girls is struggling to use kind words or if someone says something hurtful to a sibling in anger, we often talk about this verse. It allows us to have a conversation about how powerful our words are, and that we have the choice to build others up or tear others down.

It’s easy as a mom to tell my kids the good they ought to do. It is much more difficult to put those words into action myself. While I don’t struggle with using unkind language with my children, I believe this verse can be directed at my tone as well. Often times, when I lack self control, I am more likely to blame or shame my children with my language, volume, or tone. Ouch. Those are not fun things to admit. But often times, that’s what happens when I yell. It doesn’t necessarily get my kids to listen, it just communicates my frustration. In reality, my girls don’t need me to blame or shame them out of my selfish frustration. They need someone to teach them, coach them, and guide them as they learn to navigate through life.

In the same way, God never blames me or shames me for my mistakes. He is a merciful and gentle God, who cheers me on when I do well, and is gentle and always offers grace when I fail.

That night, I was convicted about all the times my loss of self control resulted in anger. I decided that I was going to change the way I respond when I get frustrated. I realized I need to lean on God more in those moments when self-control is hard to come by. I long to help my girls when they are struggling with self control, and I realized God wants to help me in the same way. He is cheering us on as moms. He wants us to guide our kids gently, teaching them to navigate through their emotions. To coach them and train them in the things they need to learn. I have found that when my little girl spills her milk or accidentally dumps her cereal on the floor, I’m less likely to over react, because I am starting to rely on God’s grace to help me respond with love. Patience stems from humility, and humility grows when I realize how much I need God’s grace. When I’m living in a space where I’m constantly receiving grace, I’m much more likely to give grace away to the people around me. Accepting God’s grace in abundance, allows me to give it away more freely.

I am not a perfect mom. If you would have seen me with all of my children in Target today, you would 100% affirm this statement. I’m still human, and as it turns out, I’m going to be human for a long time. So I will continue to make mistakes in parenting. But I’m learning to be more reliant on God to guide me through the tough moments of parenting…as I attempt to guide my girls through their difficult stages as well. And now when I start to lose my patience, I pause. Close my eyes. Take a deep breath. And then I respond. The simple act of pausing allows me to refocus on the bigger picture, and say a quick prayer if I need to, surrendering my response to Him, time and time again.

No one ever said it was going to be easy. But we don’t have to do it alone. God wants to be a part of our lives, and play a role in our parenting. I’m learning the only way for me to truly point my children to follow after Jesus is to seek Him more fervently every. Single. Day. I cannot do it by myself. And God never intended for me to.

 

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