On so many levels I feel like the freak mama. Let me count the ways…
- I have six children.
- Not all my children are the same color.
- I have two 7th graders that are not twins.
- I drive a 15 passenger van.
- I cannot attend all of my children’s sporting events. Ever.
- I can’t remember potty training Maddie because having two in diapers three times deeply affected my long term memory.
- I pull tables together at restaurants.
- I have so much food in my grocery cart, people stare and then ask me, “are you feeding an army?”
- I don’t really miss my kids terribly when they go to camp. I’m excited for them and for me.
- My wallet is five inches thick because of 24 insurance cards. (medical, dental, vision x 8)
- I do crazy things like giving each person a different color of cup and towel. One cup. One towel. Period.
- We will soon have five teenagers.
I have told you this before, as told to me by the clerk doing my 4th son’s birth certificate (she had 8 children), “whether you have one or twelve, they take all of your time.”
I’ve also told you who say, “I don’t know how you do it!”, that “I don’t do it.” I can’t do it all and I don’t. I screw up a lot of what I actually do. Like driving to the wrong school for a track meet and bringing snacks the wrong day for the basketball team.
After a while, some of these things have become normal to me. I’m okay with my large cart of food and I’m killing it parallel parking the van.
I just need to know that I am not the freak when it comes to screwing up with my kids. Not the snacks on the wrong day kind of mistakes, but the losing it so badly that I’m pretty sure the neighbor heard me yell kind of mistakes.
Yesterday, after having a sweet time studying God’s word and hearing from him, enjoying his grace and freedom, I let my youngest have it! I was like a volcano that suddenly erupted. Neither of us saw it coming, especially him. I want to blame it on my mid-forty hormonal state, but does it matter? Not to my son.
After the windows stopped rattling, and the dog came out from under the bed, I sat down and calmly apologized. Had my son disrespected me? Yes. Did he need correction? Yes. Did he deserve my wrath? No. To make matters worse, this is my adopted son who was traumatized at an orphanage and has no good memories of his mother. Yeah, I know. You’re never going to ask me again, “How do you do it?”
Have you blasted a child recently, replied to a question with biting sarcasm, reacted with a harsh consequence instead of responding with patient teaching? If so, you are in good company. We want to parent well and love them like Jesus loves us, but we miss the mark.
So, what do we do?
1. Apologize quickly. A very handsome pastor told me once that the time between the offense and the apology is an indicator of maturity. Don’t let your child walk around with that shame and rejection for long.
2. Don’t feel like the freak mama. Remember that we all have sinned against our children.
3. Confess your mess to your Father, accept his forgiveness, and seek his wisdom in the area of your struggle. Maybe it was the ugly monthly monster or maybe it was resentment, unrealistic expectations, or an empty soul in need of some time with your Savior.
Our words, the tone of their delivery, and the expression on our faces have the power to encourage and the power to injure. Praying daily for self-control and gentleness would be wise for all of us. The greatest factor shaping our children’s concept of God is their parents.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. Philippians 4:5
Therefore, confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9