Between the dishes, laundry, doctor’s appointments and dinner menus, life can seem overwhelming. Add to all this, the desire to raise children who are blessings to others, and it seem down right exhausting.
The enemy of perfectionism
Do you ever feel discouraged? Do you feel like all your best efforts are for naught, that nothing you do succeeds? I too felt this way. Especially when it came to my children and my family.
There was a time when I felt like I had to be the perfect mother. I was determined that my children would be respectful (always), sit properly at the dinner table and engage in meaningful conversations, speak lovingly and kindly to each other and everything would be sunshines and rainbows.
What I discovered though, was that my children had a mind of their own – say what? – and despite my best efforts they were not becoming the people I wanted them to be.
When the sibling fighting, the back-talk and the general disrespectfulness was getting out of control I figured I would try things the way my parents did it. I mean, I didn’t turn out too bad myself. I was kind, thoughtful and joyful so it must have been the discipline I got from my parents.
What worked then might not work now
Growing up in Belize, it was expected that you would “mind your manners” at all times. Adults were address with “yes, sir”, “no ma’am” or you would use their last name in responding. There was no doubt that my parents were in charge at home
– especially my dad and what he said goes. End of story. It was definitely a dictatorship and everyone followed the rules.
So I got the brilliant idea of trying the same method in my own home. And, let’s just say that it backfired – big-time.
First of all, I found myself yelling all.the.time! The kids rebelled against my new system and I slowly became the angry mom; the mom I was trying my hardest not to be.
I looked at my mothering one day and realized that my children no longer enjoyed being around me because I was always bossing them around, correcting them or telling them to do something they did not want to do.
Does this sound like you, mama?
I was angry and confused. Why are they angry at me? Don’t they know I am doing this for them; that I only want the best for them?
After a few days of reflection, I enrolled in a positive parenting course to try and get some insights into how this parenting thing worked, since I felt I was clearly failing at it. I loved the course, and it really opened my eyes to not only how my behavior was affecting my kids but also the reasons behind some of the challenges I was facing with my children. I devoured every lesson from the course and implemented the strategies. The result was amazing. Not for my kids, but for me! (Hint: turns out I have a authoritative parenting style – who knew?)
I thought I finally found the answers I needed. Queue the sunshine and rainbows, please. All will be well now. Right? Um, not quite. The problem was I was yelling a little less now, but I was still so angry. Why am I so angry I wondered.
I scoured the internet for ideas on how to bring joy back into my motherhood. I listened to podcasts on minimalism and started decluttering my house. And this too helped. A little.
Letting Go and Letting God
Finally, in complete desperation, I did what I should have done years ago.
I started talking to God about it.
I sat quietly and listened.
I brought my problems to God.
In my mind, I would envision Jesus and I sitting on a bench and He would ask me how things were going – as if he didn’t already know – and I told him everything. “I love my children and I want only the best for them. But I am so angry all the time. Please help me to be a better mother. To mother them with kindness and love.”
I would then imagine turning to Him and pulling out a flat black stone which represents my anger and handing it to Him. Then I imagined Him cupping it in His hands and telling me the “anger is no longer yours. I have taken it from you.” I would end these prayer times in tears and with such relief.
I realized that I did not have to do this mothering alone. And neither do you my sweet friend.
I invited God into my mothering.
I asked Him to be with me as I raised my children, to be with me during the challenging days and the worries that comes with parenting.
And guess what? I know without a doubt that He is helping me.
He has taken away the anger…slowly…and replaced it with the reassurance that when I mother my children, I am not doing it alone. He is with me always; His loving hands on my right shoulder, guiding me, strengthening me and loving me.
Of course, there are still days when I’ve had it up to here, but I’m finding it easier and easier to regain my calm.
He can do it for you too! I promise you.
You are enough. You are the mother your children need.
I encourage you to invite God into your mothering. Ask Him to be your “strength and strong tower”. And let Him give you the joy you need to be the mother you were created to be.
You can do it!
You are not alone. He is patiently waiting for your invitation to be your parenting partner.
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