Almost every mom struggles with maintaining her patience while parenting, especially if she’s with her children all day. Whining, strife, or even a barrage of innocent questions, added to the list of things she must think about and get done, can be very distressing. Ask me how I know.
But not only is parenting without patience or having reactionary responses damaging over time, it also undermines our authority in the home.
Reading through the books I mentioned in part 2, 5 Keys to a Christian Home, I’m reminded of some important ways to counteract my tendency to react the wrong way.
- Take my thoughts captive. Most of our behavior begins in the mind. I must keep my thoughts focused on my purpose as a mother–to nurture my children in the Lord. After my husband’s needs, they are my top priority.
- Eliminate distractions. With our too-busy technologically charged atmosphere, it’s easy to get irritated at a little one who is “interrupting.” Certainly there are times we need to give our attention elsewhere and they must learn to wait, but if we’re snapping at a child because we’re trying to finish our facebook status, we need to realign our priorities.
- Enforce obedience. Sound simple? I wish it were. Moms have the tedious job of balancing mercy and understanding with her not-there-yet children. Yet, she must enforce her authority in the home and teach them obedience by her responses instead of allowing them to argue and disobey unchecked. I believe this is the biggest source of irritation in most homes. I’ve noticed my tendency to grow impatient is worst when I fail to enforce the rules of our home, and instead try to “reason” with my children. When the rules are clear, as are the consequences for breaking them, we need to be diligent to follow through. Life gets so much easier when we do.
Example: I told my daughter her room needed to be swept (and it was really in need), but she replied that she had just swept it. I said it clearly needed to be swept again, regardless of when she last swept it and that if she had just swept it, she had not done a thorough job. She then “reasoned” that it didn’t matter because she didn’t spend much time in her room anyway. This conversation shouldn’t have gotten this far (and consequently, I became frustrated). I gave simple instructions: “sweep your room.” What followed was arguing and a temporary resistance to obey. A simple way to train this sort of response out is to apply a consequence at the first argument.
- Make room for life. If our schedules are too busy, we will be tempted to stay in a state of rushing and consequently, irritation at every “problem.” Life with children is full of meeting needs and when we don’t make time for them, the needs feel like burdens. Motherhood is what God gives us time for.
And if you need more encouragement, there’s this: even though I wrote When Motherhood Feels Too Hard, I’m so thrilled to see how the Lord is consistently using it to change the hearts of mothers everywhere. Last week a woman bought 30 of them (with the bulk bundle discount) because she was so eager to share them with other women she knew.
This comment came yesterday:
“Your devotional has been a balm to my weary soul!! I cannot read it without tears and I cannot put it down! Every page brings an eternal perspective.” -Rainah
My deepest heart’s desire is to encourage you.