I thought I was a patient person… then I had kids.
I said I’d never yell at my kids… and then I had kids.
I pictured myself as a sweet, loving, always-cheerful mom… then I had kids.
Motherhood has stretched me and humbled me. It’s brought out the best in me and the worst in me. And, recently, with all the processing of our big move, there has been a lot more of the worst and very little of the best.
I found myself snapping at my kids more and more frequently, which only served to frustrate me. The more I snapped at my kids, the more frustrated I was at myself. And the more frustrated I was at myself, the more I’d snap at my kids.
It was a vicious cycle and I felt trapped.
One night, I was up late thinking of the kind of mom I’d been and feeling so ashamed of my behavior and the example I was setting before my kids. I started praying and asking God to help me to love my children, to help me have patience with them, and to stop getting so angry with them.
My 4-Week Commitment
As I was praying, an idea birthed in my head. I decided to make a commitment to my husband for the next 4 weeks.
I woke Jesse up to tell him my commitment (I have such a gracious husband — poor guy!). It was this: every time I was tempted to lash out at a child I would, instead, find a very practical way to love that child.
It was a BIG commitment, but he agreed that he thought I could do it and said he was willing to hold me accountable. I went to bed resolving that, by God’s grace, I was going to change the tone in our home.
It Was SO Hard
The first day was very, very hard. One child in particular has been getting on my every last nerve recently. This child knows how to push buttons and seems to make a game of trying to see how much they can annoy me.
Well, the first few hours on that first day of my 4-week commitment, this child tried all their usual tactics. I didn’t get frustrated. I didn’t yell. I didn’t even raise my voice.
Oh, it was very hard. But I’m a stubborn person and I was determined to stick with my commitment to my husband.
Instead, of lashing out, I asked this child to come snuggle next to me. I poured love, love, and more love.
The Change Has Been Amazing!
Within a few hours, this child’s attitude had drastically changed. They were calm, happy, and asking what they could do to help me. I could not believe it!
And this only continued for the next few days. Until finally, I felt like I almost had a completely different child living in my home. It was amazing!
We’re now headed into week #4 of my commitment and I can safely say that this one change in me has changed the tone in our whole home. My children are more helpful and respectful. I am so much happier. Jesse is happier because we’re happier. And our home is much, much calmer.
All because I’m choosing to love instead of lash out.
I decided my 4-week experiment was a smashing success. And I’m going to extend it for another 40 years. Or something like that. 🙂
To help me remember to choose love instead of lashing out, I’ve been wearing this bracelet. It came shortly after I made this commitment. It’s a Mother’s Bracelet from Spark of Amber and it has amber beads — which are supposed to be calming — plus, a bead birthstone for each child.
I received mine as a review product for an upcoming giveaway I’m doing and I’ve decided it’s my physical reminder to stay calm with my children. It’s been surprising to me how having this physical reminder has worked so well. It might sound silly, but every time I see the bracelet on my wrist — which is often! — it reminds me, “Stay calm. Love. Love. Love. Don’t lash out.”
P.S. Another change we made around the same time was to have our children be completely electronics-free (no TV, movies, iPads, etc.) except for family movie night. This has also made a HUGE difference in our home… I’ll have to do a post on that sometime, too!