My child’s discontentment makes me discontent

My child’s discontentment makes me discontent

Welcome to part two of our series,“You Are Not a Victim, You’re a Mom.” Today we’re clawing our way to the gnarly root system of this victim mentality by talking about discontentment – ours not theirs.     There’s an epidemic of entitled discontentment slithering into homes around America today. Unfortunately, I believe, parents are so overwhelmed by the discontented cries of their children, they’ve grown deaf to their own complaining hearts. Whether our kids are pushing for more things to buy, more time on their devices, or another book at bedtime, moms today feel pushed and pulled and… victimized. We are desperate for them to be satisfied, so that they may know peace, and we can finally have some too. “If they didn’t throw fits, then I’d be happy. If they’d eat what I serve them, then I’d be happy. If they stopped asking for more at bedtime… If they stopped arguing with their brother over toys… If they stopped asking for whatever’s next, always next… complaining so much… leaving a mess… being so loud… melting down over chores… over homework… over gold-fish… If my kids weren’t so discontented… I could be content! Click To Tweet Do you see what I’m getting at? We’ve become the victim. In a way they’re now in control, and we’ve become the child, throwing discontented fits of our own. Though I have a child who struggles without end for more and more, seemingly never satisfied, his thorn of discontent has become my own. I’ve allowed his lack of peace and gratitude to steal my peace and gratitude.  I harp on him incessantly, so discontent with his...
You are not a victim, you’re a mom

You are not a victim, you’re a mom

I sat beside her at the public swimming pool, her little ones in the shallow wearing water wings, mine canon-balling off the high dive. We were wading into the metaphorical deep-end ourselves, talking about the hard stuff, that chlorine scented afternoon. She was exasperated, worn out. Her frustrations bordered anger, and she felt great shame over her emotions – still they flooded. Picking up a damp towel nearby, she wiped her face then said, “I think that I’m most upset that my children ruin my plans each day. And not just my plans for the day, but my plans of being a good mom. They ruin it no matter what I do. They ruin all of the meals I serve by hating what I’ve made and crying at the table. They ruin our trips to the park and our playdates with friends by throwing fits when it’s time to go. I plan so much fun, and they ruin it all by demanding more or different. And I guess, if I’m honest, they ruin my dreams of what my family would be like. I had such good dreams. I’ve dreamt of being a mom for so long, now here I am and there aren’t any peaceful, happy tuck-ins, no Bible reading at the breakfast table – not without more fits! Everyday I’m disappointed, frustrated, and angry. I feel abused! Some days I just want to throw in the towel.” And she did throw down the tattered towel in her hands, with a pathetic little moan. I smiled, leaned in, and hugged her. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but as she shared I believed...
Because we all end up bowed down, low to the ground, eventually

Because we all end up bowed down, low to the ground, eventually

My posture these days is running, standing, and going. My posture is muscular and active –  throwing people and priorities out of the way and out of my day because the school bell is set to ring. There’s very little slowing down and kneeling down and falling down prostrate on the floor in quiet surrender because… well… Life.     There is no time to fill up our souls with God’s beauty before the sun rises – before my sons rise – and so we rush into life lacking beauty. Beauty within and beauty flowing out into the lives of our little people. We throw make-up on our faces at stoplights, but we can’t cake it on thick enough that it eeks it’s way down through our pores and into our souls. True beauty doesn’t work that way. It’s got to start deep within, and work it’s way up and out. But we’re living lives that are much too busy for such things. Hurried, harried, and horrible: they go together. But hurried and holy rarely co-exist. Holy and hallowed and hushed, now those are true companions. They meet together in the morning hours before the sun steals past the beauty of dawn. We need to join them there. We need to fellowship with the Holy One – slowing down, sitting down, and coming down off our cram-packed agendas to seek Him on the floor. On the floor. Because that’s where every person is going to end up, eventually. Either on purpose, prostrating oneself in worship, intentionally in the morning hours; or at night in a tearful puddle; or, and this is a frightening thought,...
He gently leads us

He gently leads us

Today is my husband’s 40th birthday! Yesterday was also HUGE because I sent a complete book manuscript into my publisher. And tomorrow is already hanging heavy over my head because I’m scheduled to speak at a local MOPS group. Needless to say, I have a few things on my mind that aren’t about mothering my little crew. I have thoughts and commitments beyond being a fully engaged Face-to-Face interacting, faith building, dinner making, mess cleaning, boo-boo kissing mom! And it’s all good! Truly. God doesn’t just call us to one role at a time – especially moms! We wear a million different hats every long mothering day. Taxi driver, teacher, bible study leader, accountant, lover, disciplinarian, cook, maid, manager, special event coordinator… Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you’re home with lots of things going on within your family and within your own multi-faceted life. And I commend you for trying to make it all work, all the while attempting to stay present and patient toward your people. This season of life takes a whole lot of muscle – as we try to do it all! But it also requires a whole lot of surrender! In the busyness of everything I have going on this week I am meditating and believing this beautiful picture of motherhood given to us in scripture:     There are days that I feel completely overwhelmed (those are usually the days I snap – when the children’s childish ways are simply too much for me to handle.) There are the days I slow down to seek the Lord. I ask Him if I’m doing...
Because sometimes that one child, with all their special needs, takes everything you have

Because sometimes that one child, with all their special needs, takes everything you have

Do you have a child with impulse control issues, ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Aspergers, Autism, Dyslexia, APD, Depression, Anxiety, or a unique concoction of those listed above? And is it hard? I bet it is. I know it is. Having a child (or children) with special needs, behavioral disorders and learning difficulties can be one of the most difficult weights to bear. And under the pressure, moms can explode and marriages implode and love erode. It’s all so very complicated.     One sweet mom recently asked for prayer concerning her anger, and was so insightful to recognize the connection between the constant energy her child with unique needs requires and her own twitchy trigger finger.  She confessed the way she tends to explode at the rest of the family when she is simply worn out by her one special child. Yes. I can relate. I remember going to the psychiatrist for the first time with my son with ADHD. After he was assessed and diagnosed I immediately started talking about all the other issues in our family and the possible disorders my other kids might have. The doctor smiled, nodded, and said, “It’s very possible nobody has any diagnosable issues. They have issues, but the sort of issues that come from proximity. Don’t worry. Let’s see if we can help this one kid first. Usually what happens is that once we help one child with impulse control and oppositional tendencies everyone else’s behavior in the home begins to change.   Kids with behavioral, developmental, or learning issues often cause the whole family to have issues as well. And to some extent I’ve seen...

when your children want to fight – ding ding ding – send them to their corners

Summer’s halfway through. June with it’s temperatures slowly rising and July with her fireworks, bare feet and drippy Popsicles.  Your boy has sweat beads forming on his upper lip, resting there all masculine on peach fuzz.  The bottoms of his feet are black from the pavement, and you holler, “wash those feet off before you get on the couch.” It’s all been good so far this summer, except for when it hasn’t been good. Because sometimes boys get themselves all bound up into a negative place where only punches and complaints can make sense of it. Except it never does. Arguing, competing, fighting for the biggest piece of cherry pie never settles anything except for a mother’s resolve to keep training those strong-willed boys.     Before I wake up I often hear words coming from their room, biting and unkind. I hear them jesting and jostling over the plastic tingling sound of a pile full of lego. What happened to their cheerful hearts and pleasant play? They’re all flexing muscles now to the point of feelings torn and bruised. It’s a competition – who can be the loudest or the rudest or say the meanest thing. Three brothers close in age, I get how it can happen in the sweetest families.  But what to do when they raise your roof? When their hollers make us want to holler back? I have a choice to make. Either jump into the ring and start swinging and yelling and fighting with the whole lot of them? “You be quiet! Enough! I’m not going to take that kind of attitude, young man! You...