Who, Me?

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Tantrums

Tantrums.  Can we talk about tantrums for a second? That moment when you say no to a snack ten minutes after your child finished eating their breakfast, and now their world is falling apart?  It’s literally crumbling before your eyes as your toddlers throws himself on the floor and begins the most pathetic scene, screaming and crying and making every weird noise known to man.

I’m very familiar with this drama.  I’d love to say I only see it from my almost two year-old, but I’d be lying.  More often than not, my three year-old and five year-old throw these fits and it’s just too much for me.

I’ll be honest

Now I am NOT a parenting expert, nor do I claim to be!  I do have a masters degree in psychology, but if I’m being honest, a lot of the theories I learned in my schooling get thrown out the window when I’m in the midst of a parenting battle.  Like many of you, I’m a mom who is trying to do my best to, along with my husband, to raise our boys to be men after God’s own heart.

Easy, right?!? Bring them to church, pray with them, read them stories from the Bible, and that’s that.  I wish!  Those things, while still important, are relatively easy to check off the list.  What I’ve found to be the hardest part, is teaching them through my own actions.

Sometimes, my kids hear me yell at them.  It’s not my best example of kindness.  Sometimes, they see me roll my eyes at my husband.  That’s not the way I want them to treat their future spouse.  It’s not uncommon for me to be “busy” doing something and only half-listening to something they are trying to tell me.  I definitely don’t want them to respond that way when God is speaking to them.  I could go on and on.

My point is, so often we look at how we can change our kids.  We seek to find the problem in them and search for a way to fix it.  I do it too.  I’ve spent hours reading parenting books and Googling answers on how to combat whining.  But what God always points me back to, is myself and my own heart.

Wait, what?

Ouch, that’s a tough one to swallow.  It’s tough because I need to be reminded of my own attitude and character every day.  Actually, many times each day!  How I respond to my children, how I speak to my husband, and how I interact with strangers all set the stage for how my sons are going to respond in situations.  I have little eyes and ears on me at all times and trust me, they are watching and absorbing everything!

Every once in a while, I’ll hear my oldest son say something in a tone that I know he heard from me.  It stings!  But, it’s a learning opportunity for both of us.

So where’s the hope?

The hope in all of this?  God’s grace.  Knowing that He will use all of my mistakes for His good gives me peace at night.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have to give my fair share of apologies to my boys throughout the day, but it does mean I can have peace knowing that God is with me through it all and directing my paths as well as my sons’ paths.

I recently read a prayer for parents in this book that not only asked God for grace when we fall short as a parent, but also that our children forget our harshness in those moments.  I loved this prayer because kids seem to remember EVERYTHING!

“I often find myself on my knees in my kids’ room after they’ve fallen asleep on a “yelling day.”  Not only do I ask forgiveness from God for mistreating the beautiful gifts He has given me, but I also pray that my kids will forget my harshness.  I know that it’s only by God’s grace that I’m a parent, and I have to rely on that grace every day” (Mary in Turansky and Miller, 2017).

Bringing it back to the kids

Some of you might be wondering about those tantrums and other difficult behavior kids demonstrate.  Does this make it all okay?  Absolutely not!  It doesn’t let them off the hook for their misbehavior or excuse their disobedience.  That’s not at all my point.  We most definitely need to address our children’s heart issues and disobedience.  But we also need to look at where they might be learning it from and make some changes.

Again, I’m not an expert on this topic.  I’m only five years into this parenting role.  But I enjoy sharing my experiences and what God continues to show me through it.  I’d love to hear from you on what lessons God has taught you through your kids!

As always, let’s raise His mighty warriors TOGETHER!

NOTE: I would highly recommend “Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character…In You and Your Kids” by Scott Turansky, D. MIN and Joanne Miller, R.N., B.S.N..  The book is incredible and gives practical advice for changing bad habits in you and your kids. Check out the book here.

Turansky, S & Miller, J. (2017). Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character…In you and Your Kids. New York: Waterbrook Press.

Finding Your Tribe

I have said it before, and I’ll never tire of saying it again…when you become a mommy, find your tribe!  If you’re already a mom, it’s never too late if you haven’t found yours already.

What’s this “tribe” I speak of?  It’s your support network.  It’s the moms you can rely on to pick up your child from preschool because your baby got sick.  It’s the friend you meet for ice cream after the kids go to bed.  It’s the moms you meet at the park for a playdate, as much for yourselves as for your kids to play.  It’s the shoulders you cry on when being a mom is feeling too overwhelming.

And the best part?! Your tribe will get it every.single.time!  These moms understand whining and tantrums.  They get the endless to-do list and the feeling of drowning in household chores.  They relate to the busy schedules of husbands and the challenges of marriage.  And they share in your sorrows and your joys.

I believe this group, however big or small, is crucial for all moms whether they work in the home or out of the home.  The women in your tribe may change in different seasons of your life or you may have them around for life.  Either way, it’s okay!

After joining my first mom’s group at our former church (see more in my Raising Mighty Warriors blog post) and finally getting to know some of the women, my husband and I moved to a new city about an hour away.  While this was a great move for our family, I found myself feeling lonely.  At this point we had a one and a half year-old son and I was 6 months pregnant with our second son.

About two months later and just a few weeks before our son was due, I found a mom’s group at our new church.  Like I did the first time at our former church, I convinced my introvert self to go and see what it was all about.  Once again, I was slightly intimidated and nervous, but almost four years later I can say that it was one of the better decisions I’ve made as a mom!

Yes, it’s super awkward putting yourself out there and meeting new moms.  For introverts like myself, it is unnatural and incredibly uncomfortable.  Oftentimes, we walk into a group like this and many of the moms already know each other.  It’s like the first day of high school all over again!  Ugh, that makes me feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it!  But I’ve found that with an open attitude and a whole lot of prayer, it’s not that bad.

The hardest but most important part?  Keep going back!  If you don’t meet your best friend the first week, don’t be discouraged.  Go back!  Honestly, it’ll probably takes weeks, maybe months to connect on a more than superficial level.  Maybe it’ll only be with one mom from the group.  But do you know what?  That’s one more mom on your team than you had before.

Maybe you’re blessed and live close by your sisters, sister-in-laws, cousins, or best friends.  Maybe these women already make up your tribe and you don’t need to rely on others.  Can I challenge you with something? Look for moms who don’t have the luxury of family and friends near by and invite them in.  I can promise you that they are desperate for some mommy friends!

Maybe a church group isn’t for you or your church doesn’t have one.  That’s fine too!  Find, or start, a local moms playgroup at a park.  Or just take your kids to the park and instead of sitting on a bench by yourself scrolling through social media (I’m guilty of this too), reach out to another mom there and engage in conversation.  Again, awkward for many of us?  Absolutely!  Will it lead to a long-term friendship?  Not always, but what if it does?

Maybe it’s an online community to start.  Great!  Start there. Maybe your kids are in school or are involved in extra-curricular activities.  Can you take that uncomfortable step to introduce yourself to the parents of the other kids?  It might just be worth it.

If you’re feeling stuck in this area, I’d love for you to reach out to me and we can brainstorm some other ideas.  But I promise you, finding your tribe will make a world of difference in being your best mommy self!

I’d love to hear from those of you who already have your tribe!  Where did you find the women you do life with?  Please share in the comments.

Let’s raise His mighty warriors (our sons and our daughters) TOGETHER!