I’m a pleaser. It’s impossible to please everyone when you’re a mother. This stresses me. A week ago I had a bit of a melt down. It was all too much, I was failing right and left, I needed a break. . . I cried and cried- gave myself a headache, stressed Tom out, and fell into a deep slumber and awoke with renewed determination to overcome. I awoke early, and spent a good hour in prayer and scripture study. I signed up for a free online parenting course, I prioritized a few things, and determined to let go of some things. Out of it all the most powerful morsel of help was the realization that I need to pray for God to “guard my heart.” I need Him to stand in the way of the emotional meltdowns or accusations of my children and confidently own my thoughtful intentional parenting. Just because my child gets mad and frustrated when I tell him we aren’t having dessert for breakfast, or screams and throws a fit because I tell him that “Yes, today, like everyday, you need to help with a chore.” My natural tendency is to get pulled into the emotion, to get defensive, and, too often frustration, turns into anger. Now each morning I proceed with the faith that God will guard my heart. I’m working on setting realistic expectations, asking respectfully, and then allowing God to protect my heart from the onslaught that so often proceeds. So far, it’s worked beautifully. The emotional melt downs are lessening, as they’re not getting the same attention- nor are they getting fed by my own immature responses. It’s one of the things I find the most challenging about motherhood- the balance of apathy and empathy. For too long I’ve thought it had to be one or the other, but I feel like I’m learning there is a melding that is most powerful. “Oh man! Brownies for breakfast sound delicious. But we strive to eat healthy as a family, so let’s wait and eat a brownie after dinner, ok?!” Instead of, “No, you can’t have a brownie!” or Ignore. And be annoyed he asked a question he knows the answer to.
More often than not I realize after an encounter how I could have imbued my response with more empathy: “It looks like you’re in the middle of some really fun LEGO play! We really need to go, or we’re going to be late. Can you leave your LEGOS just where you have them, and return to them when we get home?” Instead of “It’s time to go, come on get your shoes on quick. . .Anders, please go get your shoes.. . Anders! We’re going to be late, I need your help! . . . FINE! I’ll put your shoes on!”
My prayer is that eventually the thoughts and realizations I have after I mess up, will one day precede the events. A girl can hope. A girl can pray.