Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Momma in the Doghouse

First off, it is a really great feeling to have made friends through this blog that care enough to pray for me and then remember to ask how my talk went. Thank you! What a blessing you are to me!

So, I am finished and I feel like it went pretty well. I had incredible peace about what I was saying and had time this morning to pray alone before I spoke.

I was prepared. Which is shocking in and of itself since I always procrastinate. I was up late obsessing over a couple things, though.

Hubby, being the experienced speaker that he is, told me about midnight last night that I was going to run over the 30 minutes I was allowed to speak. So, I needed to cut some of it. I was a little miffed that I had to cut anything out of my talk on anger, but he was right. There was just so much I could say!

I think I ran over anyway. Sorry MOPS ladies if I did - brevity is not my strongest attribute.

The title of today's meeting was Momma in the Doghouse. Cute and appropriate for my talk.

What I really wanted the moms to know is that they are not alone.

You know, it's not like we just go and talk about it. "Oh, Susan, let me tell you how much I screamed at my kids earlier today! You could have heard me from the next county."

It's not something we are exactly proud of. But it is something many of us deal with and would like to talk to someone about.

I know I feel and other moms feel frustrated in parenting and often do not deal with that frustration in the healthiest ways.

I know I have have been angry and hurtful with my husband and kids at times and that it grieves my God. But he is a god of grace and forgiveness. I wanted the moms to know that.

Mothering is hard work.

Hormones going all wacky are real.

Lack of sleep and "me time" can have a profound effect on how you respond to your children.

I think that moms put their needs dead last most of the time and that it can be draining.

I think we allow ourselves to get over tired, over booked and lack clear boundaries with those around us.

I think our anger, frustration and tempers are results of unfulfilled needs in our life. Lack of sleep, no date nights, lack of time alone, etc.

I know, I'm probably preachin' to the choir here. I am not sharing any big revelations. But I did feel led to share my story so they could be free to share theirs with each other.

The specifics of my story are most likely different than yours or the moms I met today. Or maybe not.

I definitely don't have it all figured out.

This is what I do know, though. I must depend on God for help with raising these kids he has gifted me with. Without him, I can easily lose it. So, I must lean on him and find his strength in my weakness.

It seemed like the questions that came at the end of my talk were mostly about how to discipline a child or how to help a child work through their own anger or emotional outbursts.

I did have a few tools for this that I shared with the moms when they asked. I'm sure they could have used more. I am no expert in this area.

But - Since, through my own actions, I taught my daughter how to have a tantrum when life hands you lemons, I in turn, had to teach her and myself for that matter, to deal with frustration in a healthy way.

We are all about feeling our emotions around here. We try to be keenly aware of them. We talk to counselors when we need to, pastors and friends other times. We acknowledge that anger and sadness are just a part of life that we often have to work through. There is no suppressing anger or sadness around here and as a family that is just how we roll.

I also feel I need to teach my children how to work through their own anger. My job is to raise them into big people that have self-control over themselves. If they don't learn that now, then they will have to face the challenges I've had to face in learning self-control as an adult.

And that is not easy my friends. Not easy at all.

Lastly, I need to teach them where to look for their own help. I want to teach them about hope. Hope and peace that only a loving God can bring.

There are hundreds of books out there on parenting. Discipline and parenting are personal family choices and not something God has laid on my heart to speak on. Honestly, I am not the best at discipline.

What he did lay on my heart was to talk about how to deal with the strong and sometimes dangerous emotion of anger as a mom. That is what I tried to do today. Not how to control your kids, but how to control yourself. I am hopeful that was my message.

I hated to leave the discussion today on this topic because I really felt like those moms had so much to say. But, alas, our sweet mommy time was up. The childcare workers wanted to go home. Imagine that?

I would love to have more discussion here on this blog, though. If there are some ladies from the MOPS group out there reading, please leave a comment or email me.

So, the big question that was left hanging at the end of our time together was this...

What are ways you help your children deal with strong emotions of anger and sadness?


It's Me! said...

I try and leave the lines of communication open, so that when these times creep up, and do they ever with a teenager in the house, they feel they can be open about their feels. Remember that no feelings are really wrong, they just are. It's ok to cry (boys too), it's ok to screem, it's ok to be quiet and let life sink it a bit. I try and remind them to go to the One that created them and pray, pray, pray.

Kellie said...

So glad that your MOPS talk went well! I know that when I was a mom of preschoolers hearing encouragement from other moms was such a blessing.

From your post it sounds like you and I have the same philosophy when it comes to helping our kiddos (and ourselves!) deal with emotion.

Growing up I was told not to cry. Which, you know, sometimes IS healthy. I don't want my kids to learn to manipulate with emotion either! However, there are times when dealing healthfully with their emotions requires the ability to cry, or to talk it out, or (what my son sometimes requires) to be alone. Stuffing emotion is a short term fix that can reap long term issues that become harder to cope with (in my humble opinion!)

What you said is so very true: We cannot give our kids what we don't have. I need to deal with my emotions healthfully too! Because my kids are like hawks, watching me with the sharpest of vision.

Also, talking with our kids about our experiences helps too. For instance if my daughter comes home and says something that I remember experiencing as child, I might tell her that story and use words that describe how I felt: I felt so sad, and disappointed, etc. In that way, she see's that I can understand what she is feeling and that those feelings are normal and healthy.

Lastly, Praying with, and for, my kids has been very helpful. Constantly telling them that they can speak to God anywhere and anytime. That He will give them the strength for whatever they need, be it self control or the ability to save their tears for shedding in a safe place!

I loved your line "I was a little miffed that I had to cut anything out of my talk on anger"--

That made me laugh out loud!

Janel said...

Exactly - they are always watching us!

And yes - pray, pray pray!

Thanks ladies for participating. I hope some moms are out there reading your comments - they are so helpful!

Mary Ann said...

You GO Mom! "Funny" how I came upon this blog this morning - God once again directing my paths :).

From the beginning, I knew that Jackson would be a challenge; High emotions and not afraid to display them...hmmmmm...where did he get that from? But this morning, I am still learning things like this as a Mom - but now a Mom with a 19 year old away at college and dealing with loss of his Uncle who passed away today from brain cancer. He is no longer a little boy that I can hold or cuddle or even sit with in the midst of his pain.

So, I dig in big time - with God - big time. It's times like this that I am grateful that God is big enough and loving enough to be THERE with him when I cannot. I am grateful that we KNOW HIM to rely on Him. I am grateful that Jackson thinks to call me at 7am to tell me the news of Larry's passing - to cry on the phone - to ask me how he is going to get through his final exams today as I hear his voice cracking....

All those years ago - over 15 years to when I was a Mom of young children - come crashing in on me as I mentally search and pray for the right words. Have I done enough to prepare my greiving son to endure, accept and live out days like these?

So, to answer your question; In the past, I held him and I gave him permission to feel his feelings. Sad is sad to those that feel it and the same with anger. So, yes, cry and feel sad and be silent or go for a walk when he was sad.

Anger was more difficult -DUH!
For Jackson, he would count out loud in the back yard to 10 when he was very angry.

I think, at least for today, this moment; I feel peace with God taking the reigns and Jackson counting and crying...

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