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…
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 discontentment. Yes, I’ve become the victim.
We want to raise a generation of grateful kids, but this is where it starts, moms – with us. Often we get so focused on our child’s lack of contentment, we lose sight of our own personal struggle to embrace the family, complete with the unique personalities, we’ve been given.
God has revealed to me this very thing, especially in the arena of my children’s personal challenges. I find myself comparing my precious boys to my friends’ compliant children who learn easily and sit quietly; children who don’t have ADHD, ODD -children who don’t struggle with discontentment.
In our new book, Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses, Amber Lia and I examine many of the things our children do and say, or simply the facets of their personalities that wear us down and set us off.
While we didn’t write a chapter on discontentment, it absolutely fits. It’s a trigger!
Though the book has already gone to print, I continue to learn more about the triggers here in my heart and home, and how the Lord wants to grow me into a gracious mom in the face of each unique set of circumstances. I’m learning anew that my boys’ challenges challenge me. However, here’s what I know above all else: we are not to be controlled by their childish behavior, but controlled instead by the Spirit of God at work in our mothering lives.
So what’s the key to changing in this regard? We must focus on our own contentment rather than their lack. And as we model this personal self-control, and joy in all circumstances, there is a chance that they will join us in the transformation process.
And that’s what we’ve wanted all along – their maturity. But God is ever focused on maturing us first. Always us first, if the apple is to ever resemble the tree.
I know we get exhausted and stressed, but let’s slow things down and consider this before we explode next time: the victim always tries to blame something or someone externally – the ones pushing their buttons – but anger comes up and out of the heart of a human – from deep within. Moms explode because of what’s happening on their insides, not what’s assailing them from the outside.
Though the discontented cries of our little people seem to fly at us all day long, it is our own hearts that prove most difficult to train. And so we turn our focus today to our own lack of gratitude for what we’ve been given by the hand of a kind and purposeful God!
I often tell my big kid, “Honey, contentment is being happy with what you already have.” Over and over again, day after day, I speak these true words over him. Today, I’m preaching them back to myself. And to you.
Because we are not victims, we’re moms! Blessed, blessed, over and abundantly blessed.
Here is a scripture to memorize and believe today, if you struggle with discontentment: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:14, NIV)
In the new book, Triggers: Exchanging Parent’s Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses, we’ve included an entire chapter on raising strong-willed children, and another on raising kids with diagnosable challenges such as ADHD and ODD, developmental delays and learning disabilities.
If you struggle with anger in your home from the sheer effort of it all, if the things that challenge your children challenge you, and if you find yourself yelling and overcome by shame, order your copy of Triggers today.
Triggers was co-authored by Wendy Speake and Amber Lia, and published by BRU Publications.
I’ll continue speaking to this issue of Mommy-Anger in the days ahead. Just click here to add your email and you’ll receive these articles directly in your inbox!