True or False (ugh...the most loathed quizzes of all time). Each night I go to bed so proud of my mothering skills for the day. My son listens and exudes love and obedience. I never lose my cool with him or my husband. I have the energy of a thousand suns. I am super mom who never wears leggings as pants. I feel like Joan Cleaver. Life is unicorns and rainbows. We all know it’s all lies – all lies I tell you! Yet, it’s the expectations we put on ourselves for some crazy reason (well except maybe the unicorns and rainbows part). Then what happens? We tend to erupt like Mount St. Helens when life is real instead of an episode of Leave it to Beaver. Or maybe that’s just me. I ooze (okay, spew) fire out and become fire breathing dragon mommy. And my voice sounds more like Marshmallow (the scary snowman) and less like Olaf.
I’ve struggled with reining my angry reactions in. And it seems the older I get, the worse it grabs hold of me. I attribute much of it to my ever increasing approach to the threshold of menopause, which is super fun by the way and a whole other topic. The uncontrollable urge to punch someone in the throat is just lovely. I totally get Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes now. Temporary insanity is a real thing. Not to mention the sweating – ALL THE SWEATING! But the reality is that satan knows our weaknesses and where we are vulnerable and man, he can bring out some ugly in us when we aren’t on guard.
So what is it exactly that turns us into the little girl from Poltergeist? Sweet one minute, possessed and spewing pea soup the next. Honestly I don’t have a clue. I’m not a doctor or psychologist. But I am a woman – and a wife and mom – who is in the trenches of life just like the rest of us. We are normal. And I don’t know about you, but I’m tired (SO TIRED) and I don’t want to be the fire breathing dragon mommy every day. That’s not what I want my child to remember me being like. Yes he is going to send me to the brink of insanity each day – uhm, because that’s what boys do – but my reactions don’t have to be in competition with that.
We all have different triggers – things that turn us grumpy as my son says. But I will share with you three things that tend to make me go from sane to psycho in 60 seconds or less.
The Condition of My Heart
This sounds so “churchy” and something we all know, yet it is the hardest thing for us to control. Our heart operates on auto pilot much of the time, but controls much of our body – including the filter from brain to mouth. When I am out of fellowship with God, I can feel it and so can everyone else around me. My defenses are up, I’m grumpy, and thus starts the day of battle after battle with everyone in my way. Right out of the gate, I come charging out like a bull searching for the first clown. But on the days that I get up those few extra minutes early, soak myself in the Word, and commune with my Savior the enemy has to flee. He and God cannot co-exist. That doesn’t always mean my mornings go perfectly and that my son listens and doesn’t act, well like a boy. It just means that my reactions to his antics and disobedience looks a whole lot less like satan himself with apitchfork and more like a mother giving gentle correction (and not losing her ever loving mind). Because for the one hundredth time, GET DRESSED. Am I right? It’s the same routine every day. I don’t get it. But I digress before my heart freezes again.
Emotions, Hormones, and all that Other Fun Stuff
I curse you Eve for eating that piece of fruit! Seriously she set us up for failure. I blame her for it all – the emotional instability, the hormones, the hot flashes – all of it. Women are ruled by their emotions. I mean we do make it fun for our husbands in a demented sort of way. Bless their hearts. But this “stuff’ rules me so much of the time, and the worst part is that it’s largely uncontrollable. And it makes us certifiably crazy. All you young moms in your twenties – enjoy it. Because sisters when you approach forty, you lose your ever loving mind to the brain eating parasites called hormones. I’m not remotely kidding. You can’t remember anything, and you long for the days where you were smart. All of this fun stuff – emotions and hormones – take control of our hearts, minds, and our mouths. And if we aren’t careful they will take control of our marriage and our relationships with our children. They turn us into ugly and emotionally unstable beings, or at least they have me. We have to manage it before it manages us. If you are struggling with this (like I have and do), please seek counsel and medication. Yes, God is there for us and we should rely on Him, but He also gave us people who are able to help us manage that ugly in ways that we can’t do on our own.
Life, life and more life
Life happens. Crap happens in our lives that stinks worse than my son’s feet (pun intended). Bad things are going to happen and life is going to deal us some hands that we can never be prepared for. And what do we (read I) do? I throw a tantrum that can put some threenagers to shame. I become that butt face that my child called me last week (he met the hands of Jesus for that). Circumstances can catapult us into crazy land. We say and do things completely out of character because we are in reaction mode. And everyone in our path suffers from our nuclear meltdowns (I threw that in there for my nuclear hubby).
I don’t know how to completely avoid breathing fire and spewing venom altogether. I’m a human and I’m going to make those mistakes as a mom. But what I don’t want is to end each day in shame and guilt over having more bad than good moments. I don’t want my pillow soaked with tears every night. Our kids are going to disobey, life is going to happen, hormonal imbalances are inevitable, and we are going to have a lot of less than stellar moments. But with a whole lot of Jesus, coffee (and/or wine), and encouragement for one another we can’t go wrong.
Also, there is a great new book out that I’m loving called Triggers, written by the MOB Society's Amber Lia and Wendy Speake (you can purchase it here). It is speaking directly to my soul. It makes me feel normal and in less need of a straight jacket and muzzle. Just like me, they love Jesus and their families, and desperately want to get this thing right. They offer some great Biblical responses for those fire breathing dragon mommy moments. You are not alone, mama. Keep fighting the good fight. God gave us the children we have for a reason – because He trusts us and knew we would be the exact mom they needed. We will trip and fall flat on our face (especially if you are less graceful like me), but He’s always there to pick us back up. His mercies are new every morning.