Parenting with compassion – not passion

Welcome to part four of our series, “You are not a victim, you’re a mom.

Today’s post is short but (bitter) sweet. However, it’s a crucial step in our journey to gentle.

 

hurt people verticle

 

We’ve heard it said, “Hurt people, hurt people.” However, for the sake of this series, I prefer:

Victims victimize.

Perhaps you struggled through your afternoon today with a toddler refusing her nap, and a big boy melting-down over his multiplication tables; everyone left their socks on the floor and no one wants what you made for dinner. And your heart is coiled up tight like a spring that’s ’bout to pop, because you’re tired of the abuse. Eventually you do explode, throwing all of those wrong-doings back on your little tormentors. Yes, you pay them back tear for tear, fit for fit, complaint for complaint – abuse for abuse. Only thing is… they’re not really abusing you, mom.

There are many pitiful components to this victim mentality, here in the midst of motherhood. Of course, there’s the obvious grief moms experience on the backside of their anger, knowing that they’ve hurt their children. But long before they arrive at that sad place is this pathetic reality: all those things the children said and did, that hurt her heart and made her feel the victim, weren’t grounded in reality! Though they felt like real abuse, and caused her to really lash out, they were simply children being children… being children… being children… being children… all day long.

A wise woman once said, “Your child isn’t giving you a hard time, your child is having a hard time.”

But their hard time is hard on you, isn’t it? I understand that. But remember this, dear mom, they’re just being children, and they need you to just keep on being mom. Not a martyr, a mom. A mom who presses in then presses on – into Jesus and on into her long mothering days.

When we remember that we have been called to mother our children, moment by moment, and not march like a martyr through our days, we begin to see each challenge they present as an opportunity to parent them well. When we speak these words over ourselves throughout the days, “I am not their victim, I’m their mom” we start to see again, that they are not our enemies but our children. And as our eyes refocus on God’s good gifts, as well as His good plan for mother and child, our hearts begin to soften again.

Deep breath. “I am not a victim, I’m a mom.” Like a mantra.

Deep breath. “They are not my enemies, they’re my children.” Exhale.

Deep breath. “My children will act like children, and I must act like their loving mom…”

As this gentle self-talk works it’s way down into your mom-heart, you will begin responding once again to your children with compassion rather than passion.

 

compassion

 

Victim’s have a miserable time meeting their child’s tearful fits, whiney complaints, and strong-willed nature with compassion because they’re so focused on the negative way their children effect their own happiness.

I’m reminded of the a book I read when I was a newlywed: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. In those pages he posed the question, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” It was a clever question, but didn’t resonate with me at the time, as I was still euphoric in the honeymoon phase of our love affair. However, within a few short years, we had moved across the country, had three strong-willed little boys, and were both overwhelmed by the challenges of our blessed life together. It was then, a variation of the words from the cover of that book came back to me: What if God designed motherhood to make me holy rather than to make me happy? What a thought!

What a thought. What a liberating thought!

If we go through our mothering days with the false expectation that it is our children’s job to make us happy (whether by their compliance, their achievements, or their agreeable personalities…) we will be PASSIONATELY disappointed – both with them and with our lives. However, if we wake up each new day with the expectation that God is more concerned with the process of making us Holy rather than happy, then we are on our way towards compassionate parenting, rather than parenting with passion.

Our kids are going to have a hard time, some time, here in the next few hours (or minutes.)  Let’s remember that we’re not victims, we’re moms. The more we say it and believe it, the more compassion we will have to gently walk them through their childhood today.

Amen? Amen.

 

Click here to start of the beginning of the series, “You are not a victim, you’re a mom.” Or sign up to receive the rest of this series directly to your inbox.


Triggers-Mockup5

If you struggle with anger in your home from the sheer effort of it all, if you find yourself yelling at your little ones, feeling like a victim, and weighed down by shame, you’re not alone. Authors Wendy Speake and Amber Lia have written a book just for you. TRIGGERS: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions For Gentle Biblical Responses addresses the things our children do, along with the internal pressures of motherhood, that trigger in us angry reactions rather than gentle Biblical responses. Order your copy of Triggers here.

Triggers is published by BRU Press.

 

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5 Comments

  1. Thank you for this… it’s like you can read my mind! I am grateful for such encouragement!

    Reply
  2. Thank you, thank you! This has totally changed my outlook on being a mom even though my sons are teenagers! I only wish I could have read this and practiced it when they were younger.

    Reply
  3. Love it wendy! I went through this change of thought when my first was born and it was just me and her during the days. Now it is a good reminder as I mother all four children – especially my 3 yr old! Thank you for your words.

    Reply
  4. Oh wow – what an eye (heart) opener. I’ve never really thought about it that way and now it makes so much sense. So thank you and I will be definitely changing my way of thinking when dealing with my 10 and 8 year old boys.

    Reply
  5. This could not have come at a better time. I’m struggling to raise a 17-year-old who seems to delight in making me miserable. There are honestly times I count the days until he leaves for college. Just yesterday he was unapologetically rude, sarcastic and disrespectful–again. “Why does he continue to be such a colossal ass-hat?” (Pardon my French.) I remember thinking,”If this was my spouse, I’d file for divorce on the grounds of emotional abuse.”

    It is a hard, HARD place to raise a child who constantly makes you so miserable. Thank you for understanding and sharing this eye-opening perspective.

    Meanwhile, have you check out Gary Thomas’ book, “Sacred Parenting?” I believe I will dig out my copy and read it–again.
    http://www.garythomas.com/books/sacred-parenting/

    Reply

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  1. You are not a victim, you're a mom - Wendy Speake - […] For part 4, Parenting with Compassion – Not Passion, link over here. […]

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