Yesterday my emotions got the best of me.
It was the second day in a row where my children and I were cramped into a small doctor’s office for yet another appointment (this time for the dog). It was the second day (in a row!) where my children’s behavior towards each other (as well as myself) was just downright horrible. And you know what? I was tired. Tired of the bickering, the fights, as well as the complete lack of respect exhibited towards one another. I was frustrated, weary, and yes, embarrassed by the attitudes my children displayed in public–especially those of my ten year-old son. So much so, that I lashed out. I erupted into anger, said things I shouldn’t have, and even smacked my boy in the arm after his rude comments sent me over the edge.
Believe me, I’m not proud of my behavior. My lack of patience certainly isn’t a trait I like to boast about (or share with my inner circle of friends), but it happens–more often than I care to admit. I lose my cool, make mistakes, and say things I shouldn’t. Generally speaking, I don’t always handle my emotions very well, and as a parent, this weakness is magnified. Indeed, my inability to get control of my feelings is exposed…daily.
Knowing that you lost it–that your children’s poor behavior has gotten the best of you, isn’t necessarily a good feeling. In those moments, it’s as if anger has in fact, trumped love. That no matter how hard you try to stay calm and be the voice of reason—one moment can ruin it all.
In the past, I’d beat myself up over this. Who am I kidding? I still do. I recount every eruption, every lost temper, every angry look I’ve sent in my children’s direction. And I see their faces. I see the hurt I’ve caused, the fear I’ve created, and I can’t help but to wallow in my own guilt. I can’t help but to grow angry with myself. I just want to throw in the towel, give up, and call it quits. It’s in these moments I speak of that I seriously feel like the worst mom ever.
God’s there. He’s there right in the middle of my mess, dishing out grace in every moment of my chaotic, imperfect life. Instance after instance, mistake after mistake, he’s there to brush me off, pick me up, and remind me that I am his. He’s there to reassure me that my purpose in motherhood isn’t to pursue perfection but to seek him and his will at all times. Because lets’ face it—none of us is perfect, nor were we created to be. We’re all going to mess up from time to time just as we’re going to have plenty of regrets along the way. That’s why we need to lean on the Lord—it’s why we need to surrender to him.
Friends, surrendering to God during those hard-to-handle moments of parenting doesn’t reflect our weakness, it reveals His strength in us.
So what’s a mom to do when our emotions get the best of us? When we get frustrated, grow weary, and screw the whole thing up? Try the following:
Get rid of those feelings of guilt, friend. They’re not doing anyone a bit of good (especially you). Apologize to your kiddos, talk it out, and hit the reset button. Begin again. Emotions are temporary…love is lasting.
I can’t do this parenting gig on my own, nor was I designed to. As moms, we’ve got to give it over to the Lord. He’s in control. He’s got this. Trust in Him, pray for his guidance and strength, and then let God do his thing.
Seek him. Pursue the Lord. As you already know, the journey of parenthood is filled with ups and downs, twists and turns and lots of the unexpected. Without his presence and guidance, we’re bound to flounder. Seek him at all times and above all else.
You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope. –Psalms 119:114
Faithful Parenting series