on days like today, i feel as if i can’t spend one more minute on the job as mommy to jones. he is driving me NUTS! throwing things, running away when i call his name, pushing his brother, whining all the way home from the park, jumping on me, refusing to walk/sit/whatever, disinterested in any play idea i give, saying “nooooo!” to everything… he woke at 6a, its almost 2p and he’s still going strong (though in his bed now). if he doesn’t nap, its likely i will dissolve into tears, and who knows what will come next.
i have lots of thoughts on these days, when my flesh is crying out “this isn’t fair! who asked for this?”, when i struggle with wanting to let my anger and frustration out physically, when my face seems to be a permanent frown — how do i act lovingly and graciously when i’m so mad on the inside? how do i keep from spiraling down into self-pity? how do i keep from believing the lies i hear, that it would just be better for us all if i let someone else do this job? i can hear the enemy whispering, “you weren’t cut out for this. why would you ever even consider keeping him home if you can’t survive days like this? you aren’t what he needs. you can’t do this.” the truth is, i see my sin more clearly around jones, and i don’t like what i see. wouldn’t it be so much easier to give someone else the job? or to check out mentally? then i could go on thinking i was an okay person.
in between fighting for self-control (and sometimes losing it), i pull him aside to pray — i feel numb and lack a real desire to approach God, but i know we need Him. i say, “mommy is really angry today. i am feeling angry with you for the way you are behaving. it is not okay for mommy to (grab you, yell at you, be impatient, ad infinitum), but i did and i’m sorry.” i pray something simple, asking Jesus to forgive us, to help us love each other, to help me be patient and help jones obey. i end and often wonder if it did any good, because i still feel angry, and i often still lose it later in the day, but my hope is that jones will know what to do (pray) and where to go (to Jesus) when things get bad.
i have to remember that self-control is not about trudging forward on the front lines, even when i’m wiped beyond saving, attempting to remain sinless — self-control is knowing when to stop, when to take a break, when to give in for a while to avoid blowing up. often, when things have quieted down a little, i gain the perspective to see what of his behavior was disobedience and what was just part of being a child. running into the fort in his room when we go in for naptime? part of being a curious kid. but doing it on a day like today, i just felt angry for yet another time he (seemingly) did not obey. when i can see things clearly, i hate this. i hate thinking that i gave him a stern look or reprimanded him for being curious about his world or lacking an adult’s understanding.
i love him. he is one of the most energetic, feisty, independent, and strong-willed kids i know. he is a major challenge to mother. and despite days like this, where i feel like giving up and wonder if i’m doing anything but damaging him, i still want the job, even when i don’t want it.
oh Jesus, give me a deep love and compassion for jones, one that can weather the trying times that come with the territory of being his mommy. when he frustrates me, help me to know my limits and do what is right. help me to trust You for what i need. give me discernment to know what he will grow out of, what he needs help with, and what is just ‘him’ and needs to be nourished. give me creativity and consistency. and also give me a nap. amen.