A couple of weeks ago I had a hard time enjoying my children. You know what I’m talking about? Those days where everything your children do annoys you and you have no patience for their weird quirks. Their sibling rivalry makes you want to punch a hole in the wall and you kind of just want to lock yourself in the bathroom and stuff your face with ice-cream and go brain dead looking at Pinterest. Any one else have those days?
Well, I have those days but I don’t like them. Those days make me feel like I’m drowning amidst a crowd of people-scared and lonely. I also feel guilty and down right ashamed. In all reality my kids are really wonderful. They have their days and moments of disobedience like any human being but they are truly sweet, little boys. And the greatest truth of all- I love them like crazy!!!! If that is the case, then why do I feel this way? Why do I lack affection for my children and why do I find little to no delight in them? They should be one of my greatest joys! Shouldn’t they?
When days like this come I have to ask myself, “Where am I getting lazy in my parenting? Why are my children are not listening like they should? Is their something I could be doing better or am I not being consistent?” For if we want to be honest with ourselves, a lot of what we do as a parent has a ripple affect on our children’s behavior. Not saying that if we were great parents we would have perfect children because perfect children and perfect parenting is unrealistic and not possible this side of heaven. But consistent and firm parenting is possible and should be a priority. I hate having to do it but when my children are driving me crazy with their behavior than I need figure out what I need to do differently and take responsibility as their mom.
I also ask the question, “Is Satan attacking my family by making me discontent with my children?” Cause lets face it, Satan hates us and he hates our kids. He is going to do anything he can to cause disunity and a lack of peace. When we lack affection and delight in our children they can sense it. They are not oblivious to our disdain and our rejection. That causes hurt in the heart of our children and can cause more misbehavior and frustration. You know how it is! When someone is annoyed with you, it makes you feel belittled and hurt. Our children are no different. And Satan loves this. He wants our families to be chaotic and lacking in love.
When I was dealing with this dislike for my kids I sat down while they slept and asked God for help. I knew that Satan was attacking me and I knew that I was being inconsistent in my discipline. But I needed a heart change then and now. I was going to do what I needed to keep my children in check but I was feeling rather angry and did not even want to be a mom at that moment. I wanted to like my children.
What God told me to do was not exactly what I expected. I was hoping for some spiritual revelation or great insight that would make me an insane, great human being. That didn’t happen. Instead, God told me to write some lists.
So, if you find yourself in that discontent funk I encourage you to do what I did. Write gratitude lists……
Lists of Gratitude
List 1: 10 or more things you love about your child. *Read them to your children so they can know what you love about them.
List 2: 10 or more things you like about the ministry of motherhood
List 3: 5 or more things you are grateful for in your life
Here are the lists I made about my two boys to give examples:
What I love about Isaiah:
- He is caring
- He is obsessed with becoming a man
- He loves to wrestle
- He wants to help
- He has a beautiful smile
- He is protective of me
- He is outgoing and likes people
- I love watching him go outside and pretend to hunt
- He has a contagious laugh
- He doesn’t back down easily
- He likes asking questions and wants to understand things
What I love about Luke:
- He is easy-going
- He is gentle
- His chubby hands
- His hugs
- The car noises he makes when he is playing
- The way he wobbles when he runs
- He puckers up his lips to kiss me
- His joy of looking at books
- The way he hugs his brother
- His love to be held shows me he wants to be near me
With these lists, I was able to turn my discontent to gratitude. And let me tell you, it was a complete 360 turn. I was amazed at how it helped me. Did I still have to combat the negative thoughts that crept up? Yes! But these lists infused me with new strength. Gratitude is powerful like that.
For anyone wanting to try this I made a fun list template you can print out and hang up in your house. It is always good to have reminders when those days come again. Because if we are honest with ourselves, those days will come again. But we don’t have to be stuck in that funk. We have a way to get out. God bless you wonderful mommas!!