Have my children ever driven me nuts?
Is the sky blue?
Is Miley Cyrus cray-cray?
Is it wrong that chocolate doesn’t have its own food group on the food pyramid?
That’s a big fat ‘yes’ to all of those questions.
My children drive me nuts on occasion. There are good days, okay days, and then there are blow out days. Blow out days where they fight with one another incessantly, where they back talk constantly, where they deliberately disobey me time and time again, where they constantly bump their heads on something, where they are clingy and whiny. You name it and I can assure you that they are ‘it’ sometimes.
Sometimes I can see the impending insanity coming and can brace myself (or assume the fetal position). Other times, the wheels come off quicker than I anticipated on the mom-express and I lose my mind.
And afterwards I’m left wondering why or how it all happened, because in the afterglow (if you can call meltdowns something that “glow”) nothing that seemed so intolerable in the moment seems halfway as bad now that it’s over.
And then the cycles of guilt whirl up. About how my children aren’t getting the best mother that I can be. About how I feel like I’m failing them. About how I feel like I don’t do enough for them and around the house. About how I’m not as together as so-and-so. It’s nonstop.
I wish that I could always be prepared for such moments but I can’t. I wish that it was as simple as doing A, B and C to get my day back to where it should be. It’s not. But we can still try. We have more control over our days and how they pan out than we think that they do.
Here are three things to remember on the days that are cray-cray (I’ll stop using that phrase now).
1. Sometimes it’s them, but most of the time it’s probably us.
Think your children are insane? Think that there can’t possibly be a crazier set of children anywhere else in the entire world? Newsflash: you’re wrong on both accounts.
I mean, who hasn’t gotten that email thread with tons of pictures of the awful things that children have done? Remember the child that painted the t.v. or drew on their infant sibling with permanent marker? Remember him. Remember him and shudder.
But on the flip side: they’re KIDS. Which means that they will at times be incoherent balls of atomic energy that will consume everything in their paths. They’re gonna be a hot mess sometimes. Because they’re children.
Now US growed-up type people on the other hand – what’s our excuse? I am guilty of throwing mini pity- parties and playing the spit-up covered, sleep deprived martyr. I have moments where I take the marker stains on the walls personally. I convince myself that deep down, they’re simply trying to drive me nuts. I let the little things rattle me more than they should.
I meltdown like I’M the kid when it’s not necessary.
Yes, they’re kids. And sometimes, they’ll be ridiculous. That, however, is not a cover for our poor attitude. The shape of the heart can shape the home. If we are grouchy, if we are ungrateful, if we are whiny – then what else can we expect our children to be, sometimes? We give off more vibes than we think that we do and they absorb them. Simple as that.
Sometimes, we need to take a step back. Turn on a cartoon, give ourselves a 30 minute breather, find some scripture, grab some coffee, take a shower, put on real pants (with a button and everything!) and take a chill pill. Refresh and try again.
Don’t drag your feet in saying “I’m sorry” to your children if you go off the deep end. When I have done this with my children, I am always shocked at how quickly they forgive and how eager they are to cover me in their love. Because your children do love you, and they notice when you’re hurting and discouraged. And God can use their tiny little loving hearts to heal you.
2. A bad day (week, month…)
….does not a terrible mother make. And chances are if you’re having a rocky season and you notice it, that you care enough to be conscious of yourself. And that right there is a sign that you’re a mother who cares for and wants to do right by her children.
If you have kept your children alive, nursed fevers, cleaned up vomit and kept clean underwear in everyone’s drawers, you’re a champ. If you have made dinner out of left overs and white rice, gotten your children’s school work done and made sure that the kids don’t kill each other over a Transformer’s toy, then you’re a winner.
Our professional victories look different from those who are climbing the corporate ladder. The pay offs can be few and far between.
Sometimes they come on a day when you’re going crazy (like me, just this morning) and your ears tune into the fact that your two-year old daughter is singing her ABC’s all the way through while sitting in her high chair eating oatmeal. You can take silent relief that your son says ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at the right times.
The fruits of our labor are growing and multiplying, even when we don’t notice or can’t see that they are. Sometimes, in God’s grace, He lets us have a chance to see that. And thankfully, for me, He does it when I need it most.
3. Your chief mission is…
…not what you think it is. It’s not to keep them content with cartoons. Or to keep the outfitted in the cutest clothes with nary a speck of dirt in sight. Or to keep the laundry to a minimal and acceptable level. Or to serve a healthy four-course dinner at a perfectly set table. You can have the most beautiful of everything and spill out bitter water every time you are jostled. Your chief mission is to love them, to show them God, and to give them Jesus every step of the way.
And if you’re striving to give out Jesus at every junction, that probably means that you yourself will be making the time to wallow in His love and truth every chance that you get.
And every disciplinary issue, every mess is a chance to show them grace and to point them to the cross. And the best part: it’s an opportunity for both you and your little one. You will show one another grace, every day. We just have to give in to it. And when your align your goals with the Lord’s, suddenly everything becomes less of a struggle, because it takes your eyes off of yourself. And we do loads better that way.
There you have it. I just wrote something insightful in less than 30 minutes time, which as to be a record. It’s a good thing that I’m done because my son is about to get off of the school bus and there are dishes and laundry to do and toys everywhere. Happy Thursday, momma’s!