A Mother’s Love . . .

. . . has it’s limits.  Folks, I am not a mean person.  It’s just not in my nature.  If I become mean it took A LOT to get me there.  I’m not always proud of how I act but generally I am kind – sometimes I don’t make that smartest decisions, but I am kind.  Today I am not proud of how I mothered.

Anyone else out there trying to figure out how this solo parenting thing works?  Where once there were two, now there is one . . . except I still (quite gratefully) have two who rely on this one.  My daughters demand a lot of my attention and not always in the most desirable ways.  While I am sure part of it is just the way of siblings, I can’t help but wonder how much of it has developed since their dad died.

Today I lost my cool.  I yelled.  I yelled mean, ugly things.  I immediately felt guilty.  Embarrassed.  Incompetent.  Overwhelmed.  Sad.  Defeated.  And there it is – life felt like it had defeated me.  I couldn’t even navigate the antagonization of one daughter and the vindictiveness of the other.  And it was just one comment!  I had already sat them in time out at the table beside me so I could finish a task and then . . . one mean comment thrown from one of my dearly treasured daughters to the other.

Well let me tell you!  No one, and I mean no one, gets to be mean to someone I love!  But it happened and I hit the end of my rope.  I asked for what felt like the millionth time “How hard is it to be kind?”  Hard.  Folks, it’s really hard.  When you feel like the other person gets more attention, more love, more stuff, more exceptions, just more, it is dang hard to be kind.  How do we balance it as a solo mom with more than one child?  I am exhausted already from the demands of work, grad school, girls’ dance schedules, farm . . . and then they argue.  They fight.  They invade each other’s personal space.  They tattle.  They touch.  They take.  They do what siblings do to annoy each other.

So what does God say to us about raising children?  Instead of losing my temper I realized immediately I should have gone to God in a silent prayer; given the aches and pains of solo motherhood over to Him for relief before I opened my mouth and spouted the devil.

Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”  Aaaahhhh.  I see.  There will be no rod used in this house but have my children been left to their own devices?  I’d say so.  I had work to finish so just let them go do . . . whatever as long as they didn’t bug me.  Have you ever felt like that?  Do what you want as long as it doesn’t bother me.  Oh the guilt!  In focusing on my own needs I forgot to provide for theirs – to ensure they had structure that they could not develop on their own.

Proverbs 19:18 . . . yes, this is it . . . “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”  Hope.  The vileness that spewed from my mouth crushed hope.  Crushed joy.  Crushed the light out of my children’s eyes and made them fold inward.  Discipline is one thing . . . being mean as a way to redirect meanness is another.

Today I failed at parenting.  I failed to reach out to God when I needed help and instead chose to pity myself for having no help.  And in my pity for myself I lashed out at my children for being children.  Let this be a lesson to me . . . when the devils fingers begin to reach into my gut, I must direct my mind towards God to fight back and benevolently discipline.

It’s not easy.  Parenting is hard in and of itself; parenting alone is a daily challenge.  I would not choice another challenge though.  My girls are my everything.

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