I was such a great parent before I had kids.
Right? Anyone else get this?
I was the one who swore “I’m never feeding my kids McDonald’s”, and “the T.V. will never be the babysitter”. Okay, pumpkin.
We all have those dreamy visions though, prior to reality, of future joy-filled moments as a mother. Children sitting in quiet obedience, snuggled next to you on the couch, hanging on every word you say, as you sweetly read to them stories of wonder and amazement. I’ve had a few of those moments. They are actually really great.
We have four kiddos, three adopted and one biological. Or as I like to say, three take-outs and one delivery. We prayed and prayed (and prayed) for children and found ourselves adopting one domestically and two from Haiti. Then #4 came along as our amazing and incredible bio surprise. We went from one child to four in 20 months.
In case you breezed by that I’ll repeat it. One to four in less than 2 years. Plus my husband changed jobs and we moved across country. Twice.
My dreamy visions became loud-and-screaming-chaos-with-constant-kids-draped-in-chaos. Did I mention chaos?
It’s a strange thing to be a mom of a bunch of kids all of a sudden. You have prayed for so long, you have cried out to God. You are blessed beyond measure and are truly thankful to your core. But the emotional rollercoaster of raising these God-given children is a ride that you can never ever fully prepare for.
I began to realize that I was an emotional wreck. I was frustrated. A lot. Frustrated at my obvious lack as a parent, frustrated at their lack of obedience. I had four kids under the age of five, two from a third-world country learning a new system, and a mom falling hard at her attempts to find a new normal. My frustration levels stayed elevated, and the anger inside of me grew. I found myself so often times, just… mad.
One afternoon, one of my kids had done something, can’t even remember what it was, and I was over the top mad and yelling. I was so emotional I knew I needed to walk away because if I didn’t someone would have instantaneously burst into flames. I went into my room, and I stood there. I realized I was shaking. Shaking because of the anger inside of me. I was that angry. However, it was in that moment, and in the hours to follow, God asked me one question:
Is this what you want?
My good and amazing God, in His kindness and grace, broke through the crazy and asked me the most attention-getting question possible. “Is this what you want?” I stood in the quietness of my bedroom and God directed my heart to look in two different directions. One was 10 years out. I looked 10 years down the road and imagined being the same emotionally-stunted mom as I was in that moment, having the same emotional patterns. Stuck for the next decade in a cycle of sin and shame, getting mad/feeling bad. Is that what I wanted? I could only answer, No, absolutely not.
The second direction God asked me to look was back, waaayy back. God reminded me of my family’s history to just get good-and-mad. I have so many memories as a kid of family get togethers being just barn-burners. I never knew what everybody was so upset about, but there was always somebody getting mad at somebody, leaving upset, not talking to each other for days, weeks, even years. Again the question, is this what I want? Did I want this legacy of anger to continue on for my children? Because no matter how justified I may have felt, all they would remember is the emotion of what took place.
I wonder if you’ve ever felt this way. Angry at your kids, angry with yourself for being this way. Full of shame, trapped in guilt, wanting something different, but not sure how.
Anger is an interesting emotion. We’re gonna spend the next few weeks looking at this topic of the Angry Mom. Because I have to believe I’m not the only one who has struggled. Fortunately, God’s Word has quite a bit to say about it, and He has brought me to some truths that have brought healing and redemption to my life. He has literally changed me from the inside out. I know He can do the same for you.
Feel free to invite a friend. Maybe you know someone who is discouraged in her journey as a mother. Maybe that someone is you. I’m praying for you and others who just need to know they are not alone, that there is help and hope found in Jesus.