When Mom Needs a Good Cry… CRY OUT!

When Mom Needs a Good Cry… CRY OUT!

I drove clear across town multiple times yesterday, back and forth between homeschooling one and shuttling two. Wednesday’s are long. At day’s end we made it home and I made dinner, then we made our way out into the dark night for youth groups at church. Hours later, when the kids were finally tucked in bed, I turned my attention to the kitchen sink, piled high with dinner dishes, and I felt an old familiar pang. I felt like a victim again.     It’s been a while since I added to our ongoing “You are not a victim, you’re a mom” series. If the term resonates with you on a gut level, you may want to start here at the beginning of our journey out of the pit of a victim mentality and on to the high places of sweet surrender in this sacrificial role of motherhood. Ladies, God did a good job when he made you mom to your specific kids and placed you in your specific set of circumstances. Though the dishes and the laundry and the bills all pile up… your family needs you to keep putting one graceful foot in front of the other. As you plunge your hands into scourging sink water, remember your own hot refining and lean into the heat. When the suds rise up, remember the cleansing God offered 2,000 years ago, once for all. For you and me and our complaining hearts. Lean into the purity that belongs to you, clean and covered. Don’t fall into the mud again, dear mom; the mud of bitterness, of harsh nagging and complaints. I’ve...

Summertime Parenting – parenting right when our kids keep doing wrong

  Before we focus on any one trigger (what they do incessantly that causes us to explode like a midsummer bottle rocket) let’s simply remember what is true: Though they act childish, we’re still the adults. (winter, spring, summer, fall…)   When our kids do wrong, it’s our job to keep parenting right. Click To Tweet   I know this is true, because I get to practice it each and every summer day. You see, there’s still a lot of conflict in my home  between my boys. Sometimes I indulge, feeling like a victim, and respond in exasperated anger, but then I remember… Triggers are merely opportunities to keep doing the good parenting! Even in the summertime. Especially in the summertime, with all that concentrated togetherness. So… who needs to keep doing some good parenting this week? If you’re worn out, halfway through summer, and they’re whining and complaining… you don’t get to. No you don’t. Their whining is simply an invitation for you to keep parenting well. And if they’re fighting with one another and fighting with you? Again, it’s not your job to fight back. You’re the adult. “Let us not grow weary in doing good for in due season (whether winter, spring, summer or fall) we will reap if we do not lose heart!” (Galatians 6:9) Press on in the good parenting. It’s your job! Of course they have a job too… It’s their job to push against your boundaries – begging for more screen time, begging for cookies all afternoon – it’s how they learn to make good choices for themselves on the other side of growing up. It’s...
Summertime Blues – an open letter to summer

Summertime Blues – an open letter to summer

  Dear Summer, You started off strong, with lemonade stands and trips to the zoo. You showed off your stuff with perfect temperatures, plenty of playdates and poolside popsicles. The kids all passed out early, drained from long, fun days. Well done, Summer!  You. Owned. June.   Then along came July, with your soaring temperatures… and my short fuse got lit right about the fourth of July. What happened to this laid-back pool-side mama? What have you done to me? And why can’t I find anyone’s bathing suit bottoms and swim goggles? And why are the children fighting one another and why am I fighting everyone back? And “No you can’t have another popsicle!” Dear, sweet, much anticipated Summer, you’ve got to know what happens to us when you turn it up past 100 degrees, with 98% humidity! The children wake up disgruntled, begging to watch “one more movie” before 8am. The kiddie pool pops from the heat. THE HEAT alone does it! And the house is in a constant state of awful.     Sometimes a messy hot house makes a hot mess out of a mom! #triggersbook http://amzn.to/29PA04M Click To Tweet   And the slip-n-slide has all but killed our grass. My husband dragged it out to the garbage can last Wednesday, with a train of crying kids in his wake. We’re halfway through the summer, but I’m singing The Summertime Blues because it’s only 11am here and they’re all begging for an indoor playground – what with the slip-n-slide in the trash. Honestly, I thought long and hard about the indoor playground idea, but that costs $50 for...
Your Teenager Is Not Crazy – but they may trigger you something awful!

Your Teenager Is Not Crazy – but they may trigger you something awful!

I usually invite my guests to sit with me (figuratively) on that comfy orange couch in my living room, but today’s friend agreed to join me (literally) at a conference, and I was so blessed by her wisdom and fellowship I wanted to bring you into our conversation. Last week, Jerusha Clark and I shared a booth at The Great Homeschool Convention with my book, Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses rubbing shoulders with her most recent release, Your Teenager Is Not Crazy: Understanding Your Teen’s Brain Can Make You a Better Parent. What I learned, as we conversed with moms both separately and together, is that teenagers can be a trigger in their very own category! However, like every trigger that Amber Lia and I address in our book, the more you know about your triggers, the less likely you are to be triggered by them. Same is true for the teen who’s pushing boundaries, talking back, and looking for their growing sense of autonomy and independence there in your home. The more you understand their developing brain, the more grace and help you can offer them as they grow. Welcome, Jerusha!       The Biological Trigger Most Parents Don’t Even Know Exists… by Jerusha Clark   Ever heard of mirror neurons? Neither had I, until I started trying to understand the teenagers living in my house, that is.  Turns out, these tiny brain cells play a major role in parenting anyone from 11-25 years of age.  Yeah, they’re kind of a big deal. God created mirror neurons to help your kids (and you!) learn by...
Remember what you love about your husband

Remember what you love about your husband

“Lift with your legs, not with your back!” I hollered to my husband as he drove off down the rode, the truck loaded with our three sons and a mountain of work tools. He gave a wave from the open window, as the sound of boyish laughter added a living harmony to the melody of U2 pumping out of speakers. “Good thing we don’t have neighbors close by,” I thought as they rambled away noisily. The early morning air stung my nostrils causing my eyes to prick with tears.     My husband is a hard worker. He sees a need and gets it done. Whether the need is chopping down a tree, fixing sprinkler heads, cleaning out the rain gutters of an elderly woman down the road, or heading out the door for an extended business trip, he’s always going – always working. During the years with multiple babies in diapers this was difficult on me. For some reason, needs like baby baths, dishes, and tuck-ins didn’t register as his job, and no matter how I tried to ask for help, he was out the door sweating in the sun or loading up his truck with an overnight bag for another business trip. These were the days I felt abandoned and abused. Like a victim. Left alone to care for his children. Our roles have always been clearly defined. Though it’s all rather June Cleaver in a pencil skirt, it actually worked for us… that is until I was outnumbered by three strong-willed children, whose muscular tendencies took after their father. And I felt like the world was against me, my world was...
Whatever is true – and truly wonderful about your kids – think about such things

Whatever is true – and truly wonderful about your kids – think about such things

Welcome to the ongoing series, “You are not a victim, you’re a mom.” Perhaps it’s time to wrap these messages up, and tie it all together with a sweeping conclusion, that feels more like the wave of a magic wand making all things lovely. But it’s tough to do that because climbing out of sin is an ongoing journey this side of glory – even where motherhood is concerned. And that’s okay. There’s really no arriving until we see Jesus face to face and are suddenly like Him. That’s where we find our hope! Jesus is the victim that ultimately set the rest of us free.  And so I am pressing on to be more like Him each parenting moment. Feel free to join me in the journey as we continue with part 9 – or start from the beginning – You are not a victim, you’re a mom. I’m typing these words out at the dinning room table as my homeschooled kid finishes his outline for a research report in the kitchen. Natural light is streaming through the picture windows, the halls are quiet (since brothers go to a traditional school), I have an infuser blasting a steady stream of essential oils, which promise to clear a cloudy brain and stimulate alertness, and he has a handful of raw nuts by his side – brain food. I’m doing my best. He’s doing his best. But ADHD is hard stuff. Two years ago, right around this time in the school year, I pulled my child out of his class with a sense of urgency. His teacher spoke of grace but didn’t know how...