Some days I feel like, “Am I ever going to get it right?”
It was one of “those” weeks. The kind that starts out with stomach bug infected children spewing vomit for days, and ends with a mother spewing mounds of negativity onto her children.
After a week of caring for sick kids, driving a long six hour trip to return our daughter back to college, and attending to the needs of six children while my husband worked out of town all week . . . . when thursday arrived I finally hit my breaking point.
This mama was spent!
I had diverged beyond the realm of tired, into the land of exhaustion where patience does not reside, and the queen of irritability reigns.
Not a drop of energy was left within me. Not an ounce of patience. At this point, it was obvious I was in no shape to be of any good for anyone, unless I rested and took a nap. Apparently, I was so sleep deprived I believed a nap would be helpful. Had I any lucidity I would have remember a nap NEVER turns out good for me.
Between the squeals of small children, my son preforming a signature solo song on his plastic recorder, and the phone repeatedly ringing, I was finally able to drift off to sleep. That is until one of my teenagers enters my room, comes up along side my bed, sees me sleeping snuggly under my covers, and decides that her question was important enough to awaken me.
My eyes flip open when I hear the life threatening question of the day, “Mom, do you know if the hot tub is clean?”
Ladies, have you ever heard the saying, “Do not wake a sleeping bear?” By the time I am so desperate that I attempt to take a nap, and a child is foolish enough to wake me for a non emergency, it’s more like waking a demon possessed grizzly! I am almost in need of an exorcism at this point.
This is exactly why I do not take naps. Once a demon possessed grizzly is awoken, they do not go back to sleep . . . they go on attack!
“Why is this house a mess?!?!”
“Why didn’t you do the dishes?!?!
“Why is all of your stuff all over my floor?!?!
“I am not your maid!!!!!”
“Get you and your homework in here and get it done now!!!!!!”
The breaking point has been broken, and the flow of the mean mommy rant is in full effect.
For the next hour and a half I watch my youngest daughter battle her nemesis (AKA, math) while I continue to battle the urge to yell, grumble and speak harshly. She had much more success in having victory over her enemy then I did my tongue.
I realized I was in desperate need of a new perspective, or else my only other option would have been to bite my tongue clean off.
I send myself to my room, not before I yell one more time at my child to hurry up with her math. I grab my bible, open it to my favorite scriptures I have written out in the back, and immediately see in my own handwriting Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle tongue turns away wrath.”
Instantly the guilt starts to rise up and slap that mean mouth of mine. I stare at that verse I probably wrote years ago during a time I was probably battling the same thing . . . my tongue!
I couldn’t help but think, “Am I ever going to get it right?”
I felt the enormity of my guilt and disappointment in myself pressing down on me, when I hear the Lord begin to whisper.
I start to realize the guilt I am feeling was an indicator of a character flaw in the present moment, BUT I can allow it to be an opportunity for a personal adjustment that can last a lifetime.
I call my daughter to come into my room, and with her head hung low she slowly inches towards me and holds out her completed homework. In a soft, remorseful voice I say, “I don’t want your homework, I want you.” and I grab her and pull her into my bed and into my arms.
I proceed to tell her I am sorry, that it wasn’t her fault, and that I should never have talked to her so harshly. Her littles tears ran down her sweet face. I ask her for forgiveness and she shakes her head yes, still too raw with hurt emotions to even say the word out loud.
I felt a nudge to ask her to tell me how she felt when I yelled at her . . . taking a deep breath she replied with a quivering voice, “sad and ashamed.”
That’s when the real breaking happened. The breaking off of the hard, ugly pieces of me. Never, never would I want my child to feel ashamed, especially because of my actions. I gently cradled her sweet face, looked into her teary, sky blue eyes and said, “You have nothing to be ashamed of, I am the one that should be ashamed.”
The Lord knows exactly what it takes for me to make a turn and grow in the right direction. He knew out of all the emotions my little girl could possibly be experiencing, ashamed was the one that would evoke the greatest shift within me. Shame is of the enemy, and I would never want my actions to cause my daughter to feel shame.
Through the process of breaking this destructive character flaw, I was reminded of some very powerful truths about parenting:
- Saying your sorry to your children is so powerful and healing.
- Giving them permission to say how your words and actions made them feel teaches them to always be open about their feelings, and also provides a powerful breaking affect on your own character flaw.
- And finally, agreeing to let them sleep in your bed covers over a multitude of mean mommy sins!
How about you? What does your breaking point look like? What does it take for you to make that turn from the edge of destruction? Is there any area in your life you need to go to your children and ask for forgiveness? Know this, it is never too late to come back from the edge.
Here is a pic of my youngest and me on a day when “grizzly mommy” was no where to be found . . . I know, how could I ever be harsh to such a cutie! Thank goodness she is as forgiving as she is beautiful.
Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook – Pinterest – Twitter – Website