Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Better Mom

When my children were very little I was proud of the "perfect mommy" I could be.  Always smiling, I never, ever, raised my voice and I made crafts and baked cookies almost every day.  Over the years little ones became big kids and the challenges of being a gentle mom grew -  just like the children were growing.  Now in a household that includes some almost adult children, I am NOT thinking about what a perfect mommy I am.  I am often thinking about how I blew it again, and I must do better. 

Allow me to share with you my biggest struggle as a mom - yelling.  There,  I've said it.  I'm very ashamed of that.  Yesterday I yelled  screamed at my boys.  I started out with a firm lecture and ended up SCREAMING and I slammed several doors.  Then I went in my room and cried and finally, I prayed.  I could tell you that my screaming was a result of their backtalk and facial expressions.  I could say that I would have continued with the firm lecture if they had not said what they said, or did what they did, but that would be an excuse.  I screamed at them because I lost my temper and gave myself over to sin. And the Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.  2 Timothy 2:24-26  

Right now I'm reminded of what a dear old friend calls the "do-do" verse - Romans 7:15  For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do,  but I am doing the very thing I hate.  You see, I want to be a gentle mom.  I do not want to ever yell or scream or be angry when dealing with my children.     

What can one do to be a better mom?  I've been studying and praying and here is what I've come up with.   It is my messing up that drives me to my knees and to the Word.  Once I'm there I soak up the goodness of the grace of God.  I fail, He loves me still.  I sin, He forgives me.  Every mom has times of struggle and there is only one place to go -  to God.   In my own strength I regularly blow it.  I'm trusting in HIS ability to change me.

A Better Mom...

  • Pray to start the day.  Pray when I feel myself getting angry.  Pray for my children.  Philippians 2:13  For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.   James 4:7 Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
  • Stay in the Word.  Read it, memorize it, soak it up, meditate on it, read it again.  Colossians 3:2  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
  • Confess my sins to God. I must also know that He forgives me.  1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • Find an accountability partner.  Share my struggle with a godly woman and ask her to pray with me and for me.  Ask her to hold me accountable and to check in regularly to ask how it is going.  1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.
  • Make changes in my diet and sleep habits.  I have terrible eating habits and I average 5 hours of sleep per night.  I've got to look at my intake of caffeine and my blood sugar levels and make changes if I want to be a better mom.  1 Corinthians 6:19  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God and that you are not your own?
  • Find healthy ways to deal with stress, like exercise.  I'm dealing with a lot of stress in my life.  Most all of us do at some point.  There are medical issues with one of my daughters, one of my sons, and my husband.  There are issues with extended family members. There is stress that is sometimes just the result of running a large family.  The only way I am going to become a better mom is to find healthy ways to deal with stress.  1Corinthians 2:5  Your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.  
  • Schedule myself some breaks.  I really cannot tell you the last time I had a break of any kind.  My husband and I have not been on a date in years.  I have not had time alone in a   long time.  I'm not complaining, I'm just saying to be a better mom that has to change.  It is time to ask a family member to come down for a visit and help me.  It is time to schedule a date night with my husband.  It is time to schedule a break for me the same way I schedule a 6 month checkup at the dentist.  Is it time for you to do this also?  Taking occasional breaks is an important part of managing stress. I would surely be a better mom if I had a tiny bit of outside help once in a great while.  I need to conquer my fear of asking a grandparent to come down and help with the younger kids.  I've asked before with no success.  If I'm truly going to be a better mom, it's time to get up the nerve and ask again.  Ecclesiastes 3:1  There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven.     Jeremiah 6:16  Thus says the Lord, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it; And you shall find rest for your souls".
There is one more thing I want to address.  I have been noticing a pattern in myself.  I have these "episodes" at the exact same time every month.  For 3 weeks I am a pretty good mom,  for one week I am screaming and/or crying.  I share this because I feel many women may struggle similarly in silence.  Depression, PMS, anxiety disorders and other hormone related issues are often hidden as dirty secrets in the community of Christian women.  One might be looked down upon if she struggles with depression -  if she is a "true Christian" shouldn't she have the joy of knowing Jesus?  I'm NOT making excuses for sin.  What I AM suggesting is that there may be a medical issue which should be discussed with a doctor.  For me this is certainly something I am watching and praying about.  If you have a struggle like I do, you may want to discuss with your doctor also. 

If I asked you what you think would help you to be a better mom, what would you say?  Maybe you have done something that has helped you to become a better mom.  Would you send an email or post a comment and share with me?  I would love your input.  I'm interested in anything you might want to share...a book, a practical tip...a verse.  Consider sharing with my readers and me what makes you a better mom.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


  1. Oh wow Stephanie you spoke straight to me. I get so upset and yell at the kids or just yell in general and then I go to my room and cry like a big baby. I HATE to yell I never want my kids to remember me as a screaming Momma! This is something I have to work at with help from the Lord and yes prayer is really the answer. He alone is the only one who can help us control our emotions. Usually I am not upset with my kids it is always something else and then just something they do gets me. I always try to apologize and make them know that it's not them it's just something that is bothering me. I hate to give them too much info because I know my two oldest will be worried over it also. No need to burden them over some things. I also notice I am worse at certain times of the month too but not every month. My Mother also went through this and I remember it well!!! We have talked about it recently and she still tells me how she knew it was coming and could even feel the rage but just really suffered bad. I know some women have a harder time than others and she did. She was also living a very wrong lifestyle at the time and I know this had much to do with it so at the time I just kept telling myself I would never get so angry! Ha how funny I have to eat those words. Also you mentioned some things you were struggling with. I know that after Daniel had passed away in the Fall I suffered tremendously at random times with anger. I know my kids gave me grace and mercy but I still hate that they saw me at my worst. I know that through it all it has brought us closer. Let me just say one more thing I know that we have never met in person but you do seem like a great Mom. We all struggle!!! Also our family loves to read your sons blog. My husband and I have both remarked at how there just aren't a lot of boys out there that seem like they are strong in their faith and are headed in the right direction but obviously you all have done a good job at training your children. He seems like an awesome Godly young Man. That is a reflection of YOU!!! It shows that your hard work is paying off and the Lord is blessing your efforts.
    I would not hesitate about talking to a Doctor if you need to go that route. I have never been a "big medicine" person but medicine is a good thing when needed and nothing to be ashamed about. Also just spending time with your husband just the two of you would probably be great. My husband and I never go on dates either and I have always found it amazing that people do so much. Not that it's a bad thing but we have always enjoyed time together as a family. It does make it even more special though when it is just us. We never take those times for granted. We sometimes will even put the kids to bed early just so we can have a "date night at home". Sorry this has been so long I hope I have been an encouragement to you and NOT a discouragement. Praying for you and thank you too for all the scripture reference you gave us. I know God sees our hearts and he understands that we want the best for our children. Blessings, Missy

  2. Oh one more thing. I hope your son is doing better! I somehow did something to my knee on Sunday and it has been messed up ever since. So it made me think of him and my sympathy was greatly increased. I cannot imagine the pain he went though, poor guy!!! Mine is no where near that bad and I have just been all messed up with it. Still praying for a good recovery!!!

  3. Stephanie,
    I'm sorry you're going through these struggles. I have been through the same types of issues myself. I'll be keeping you in prayer. I found that giving up coffee made a huge difference in my yelling problem. Coffee made me anxious and jittery. I don't know if you're a coffee drinker or not, but that might be part of the problem if you are. I switched to tea about 10 years ago and it made a huge difference.
    God bless~

  4. Right there with you sister. Grew up with yelling parents and vowed I would "never". But followed right along in their footsteps. I have read an EXCELLENT book that has changed my perspective on child nurturing and although I still fall back into old habits, it has improved greatly! I just read it 3 or 4 years ago and wish I had it sooner.
    The book is "Loving our Kids on Purpose" by Danny Silk. I recommend it so highly, I give it now as a baby shower present.
    Blessings on you and your transparency! Papa God is proud of you and rejoicing over you with singing! Zeph 3:17



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