I look at these mothers who are so calm and chilled and I wonder to myself, how do you do it? I am a shouter, highly strung and easily irritated. My patience does not runneth over, in fact it runneth very much under. I didn’t think I would be this kind of parent, but I guess I lost the plot when I had two babies so close to each other and parenting them left me frazzled on the best of days and my outlet was shouting – at them, at the situation, at my husband. I’ve seen mothers of multiples and they aren’t frazzled and crazy like I can be, so this is not my excuse, it’s MY truth. Maybe my coping mechanism.
It isn’t good. I don’t want to have to yell to get a reaction. And now it seems I don’t get a reaction unless I yell! Of course this is all my fault, my kids reflect what they are exposed to. Maybe it’s the age we’re at, but Liam’s listening skills have become so bad that I find myself yelling ALL the time. Hannah is as stubborn as a mule and I have to yell to get anything done with her. With the effect, I think the neighbours think we are running some sort of child torture chamber. I am constantly nagging and whining and yelling at them to get things done. It is so frustrating.
I’ve been feeling really bad about all of this. It got me thinking about our own Heavenly Father. The Bible says that God is “slow to get angry and huge in loyal love, forgiving iniquity and rebellion and sin” (Num 14:18MSG). If he parents us like this, and we are made in His image, I’m guessing he wants us to be like this too? I want to be slow to get angry, I want to be quick to forgive and HUGE in LOYAL LOVE. How awesome is that? (it does go on to say that God does meter out punishment, which is more my parenting style, but let’s not focus on that right now, ha!). Rebellion – this term comes to mind when I think of my children! But God forgives us of our rebellion if we repent, what right then do I have to lose it with my kids against their rebellion – especially because childish rebellion is nothing on the rebellion that we offer up to our Heavenly Father everyday!
The Bible says that God rejoices over me with gladness, he QUIETS me by His love and He exalts over me with loud singing (Zeph 3:17). OH MY WORD!! Over me Lord?? Do you know how that makes me feel? It makes me feel like a million bucks, it makes me feel loved and special and warm and fuzzy. That my Creator feels like that about me, little ‘ol me with all my warts, blows my mind. It makes me want to be good at what I do, it makes me want to be a better person for Him. Furthermore, I need to extend this same kind of love to my children. I need to rejoice over them, I need to QUIETEN THEM WITH MY LOVE and not with shouting and screaming, I need them to know that their creation makes me want to sing from the mountain tops because they are just that fabulous and bring me that much joy – most of the time. Because I need and want THEM to feel like a million bucks too!
I don’t want to be that parent who goes off her head the minute the kids act up, I don’t want my kids to act up BECAUSE I go off my head! I can’t rewind the past, but I can fix the future. I’m not saying that yelling is wrong and that we should pussyfoot around our children and never raise a voice (or a hand) to them. Believe me, I am NOT that kind of parent. The Bible specifically speaks about discipline being a Godly directive for Christian parents (sparing the rod and all of that) but it also talks about a different kind of discipline – about not exasperating our children by coming down hard on them, but by taking them by the hand and leading them in the way of the Master (Eph 6:4). I do think that my shouting exasperates them, imagine if your boss (or a person in a position of authority ) shouted at you all day long to get things done. We expect people to be civil and talk to us with the respect we deserve, right. Then more so the people in our very homes, the people we love, right?
I am so far from the Godly model, but I want to try to improve. We can all do things better, right? Parenting is so difficult, and I must laugh at how I thought that the most difficult times were the sleepless nights and the overflowing laundry basket. Turns out that was the easiest part! Ha! Everyone wants to tell you what a blessing kids are, how amazing children are and what a joy to be involved in creation! Um yeh ok, maybe 5% of the time, but the rest of the time raising children is HARD and frustrating and sometimes soul crushing and I deal with constant feelings of inadequacy and ineptitude. But I don’t need to feel like this, I CAN improve, I can look to MY Heavenly Father who knows my weaknesses just as he knows my heart and look to His example as a parent to help me on my parenting journey.
I am not going to stop shouting, if you know me, you’ll know that this is my personality. I shout to show my emotion – whether happy, sad, angry or excited. But I am going to pray for a calmness and a stillness of spirit that allows me to say what I need to say without scaring the neighbours or my children. A calmness to deal with the daily toiling of raising a robust almost 3 and 4 year old.
Will you pray for me too?