Thursday, April 12, 2012

Trying to Be a Good Mom


Silence descends on our home now. I flip on soothing music, cut some cheese wedges, and curl up next to the computer.  

It’s hard work being a mom.  

In stress and angst over school, schedules, or their social life, my teens’ emotions can escalate. Sadly, mine do too. 

We have had real estate home showings the last three nights in a row – for which we are thankful—but the interruptions to homeschooling and the constant cleaning take their toll too. 

Yesterday I was crabby. One of my kids was having a rough time with a subject and was consequently sending ripple effects of anger and angst around them. Stirring rich red curry on a white stove top, trying not to spill any for the upcoming showing, we read through sentences about electromagnetism. 

Today after two hours of showings, we returned to a spotless home, and resumed homework. Another kid and I sparred about homework expectations and freedoms. 
 
It’s hard work being a mom. 

Pausing the cyclical battling conversation with one of my teens, I trundled up my toddler, prepared him for bed, and kissed him good night. Walking back into the living room to an angry teen, I silently prayed and checked my own heart and attitude.  “Jesus, I don’t want to be angry so often. I don’t want these battles. Help me to be a great mom, a great teacher, and a great follower of you.” 

This morning’s Bible study lesson kept springing to mind. Old Testament prophet Jonah was throwing a temper tantrum with the God of the universe, and God asked him, Have you any right to be angry?”

Do you have the right to be angry here, Jen? 

The funny thing is that… I would have probably been miffed in Jonah’s place too. His pride was on the line and he may have just seemed discredited to his peers and a watching nation. His professionalism might have seemed tarnished now too. Pride again. 

Yet God asked him again, “Do you have any right to be angry?” 

So walking back into my living room, I realized how often I felt crabby and angry lately, even for seemingly accepted reasons.  I didn’t want to be like that. Often it had to do with my pride too. Do you have any right to be angry, Jen?

Nope. Not really. The God of the universe loved me. His gifts stack high around me in family; friends; life; breath; pulsing, vivid grass, blossoms, trees; imminent lilacs… 

Pulling up the office chair next to my teen, I started with a shoulder hug, and a humble quiet voice. “Hey, I really want to be a good mom and a good teacher here. Let’s talk…” 

The tension visibly melted in both of us. Stresses, motivators, and deeper triggered issues were brought up. Humbly, slowly, we clicked on the screen and worked together. The angst faded away, replaced with light laughter and peace. 

Thank you, Abba, for restoration, for calm, for a changed attitude in me. Teach me, please. Teach us. 

Hi friend. What have you been thinking about this week? What are you learning? 

11 comments:

jody said...

You are doing an amazing job! Thanks for the beautiful words!

Michelle @ Changed By The Maker said...

Learning to put down my "right" to be upset or frazzled at the end of a busy day is difficult. Working on obedience is difficult too, but He always comes through. I'm thankful whenever I actually remember to stop and consult him in the midst of something challenging. He's always there with us. Thanks for your beautiful post.

Houseofmills said...

Oh my....this is exactly what I have been thinking about this week. I have been crabby lately too. I have been in lots of prayer about this. It is very hard being a Mom. Glad its not just me. Thanks for sharing.

Ostriches Look Funny said...

As the mother of three small boys under five, this really really resonated with me.

Because sometimes, when they are using the entire bottle of fabreeze on the floor when I'm working outside, AFTER I told them to put it away...I think I should be allowed to get angry. Even though they DID put it away like I asked them too, after they used it all...and even though they are adorable and sweet and full of mischief.

I'm going to remember what you've said here, to keep my little self in check when things get messy. Thank you for this! So convicting.

AmyAlves said...

Beautiful, thanks for sharing Jennifer! May God continue to bless you with wisdom as a mother. ~ Blessings, Amy www.fullherlife.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Jody,

Thanks for your comments here. I enjoy watching your gentle and creative ways with your girls too.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Michelle,

It IS hard, isn't it?! I agree.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Liz,

Me too. Thanks for being honest about your struggles too. It encourages me. So nice to see you today too by the way.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Ostriches look Funny,

Hi! What a fun blog name. Nice to meet you. Thank you for joining me here. Whew, the whole bottle of fabreeze?! Fresh yet frustrating. ;)

I look forward to stopping by your site some more.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Amy,

Thank you. You too. :)

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

emily wierenga said...

i've been working through anger in my life too, jennifer... and this post really helped put things in perspective for me. do i have any right to be angry? how humbling. thank you friend. and yes, it's so, so hard to be a mom... but you are not alone. and you are doing a great job. bless you, e.