The kids and I had a long day last week. They had a hard time obeying; I had low-energy and was struggling with selfishness; and we all took turns with a bad attitude.
Days like that make a momma look forward to bedtime, but when the kids don’t share the same excitement, a long day becomes even longer.
For this momma, the kids’ sassy attitudes typically collide with irritation and a short fuse in me. Disrespect is a huge trigger. Thankfully, on this occasion, instead of reacting, I prayed.
I took time to listen to the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit instead of disciplining, lecturing, or a look of disapproval.
Something else was going on in my daughter’s heart.
On that night, the sassiness was more than just disrespect, disobedience, or tiredness.
I crawled up to her top bunk, put my arms around this miniature version of me, and whispered in her ear, “How ’bout if you and I plan a special outing for us? I think we need to spend some time together, just the two of us. We need a Mommy-daughter date.”
Instantly, she relented. The hard will softened. The stubborn excuses abated. Instantly, my sweet girl returned with a big grin and an even bigger hug.
We spent the next few minutes whisper-planning our special outing, and after a few I love yous and hugs, my little girl put her head down and tried her best to fall asleep.
No more complaining. No more arguing. No more glares or sighs or harumphs.
All she needed was me.
What’s Behind the Bad Attitude?
In His gentle, Fatherly way, God got my attention again that night, reminding me not to plunge ahead, led by my emotions but instead to depend on Him.
Momma, slow down and pray.
What is behind the bad attitude?
Sometimes all they need — big kids and little kids, alike — is a nap or a snack. Sometimes they need a little help or a gentle reminder. But in a world full of distracted lives, interrupted conversations, and screen time addictions, most of the time, all they need is you. Our kids need us.
That time is so important.
I need to be reminded of this more than anyone, so these next few words are meant for me the most:
We might be with our kids a lot, but are we giving them the deliberate attention they need?
Maybe we need to rearrange our schedules, turn off the TV, put away our phones, tablets, and computers. It’s not just about being around each other, but engaging together.
Are we able to eliminate the preoccupied uh huhs, absorbed just a minutes, and distracted in a seconds from our vocabularies? Will we look our children in the eyes when we talk? Can we get out of our chairs? Stoop down to their level? Connect?
Yes, keep talking. Keep reading. Keep playing and imagining and dreaming. But don’t just do those things alone or with friends. Let’s take the time to do all of these things with our kids! Let’s laugh and play and inspire. Let’s say “yes” a lot!
When we’re having a hard parenting day, and it’s not the result of over-tiredness, hunger, or a too-full schedule, might we just try time. Let’s try 20 minutes of focused-on-them, uninterrupted play with our kids. It just might transform our days — and our hearts.
Question for You:
What is usually “behind the bad attitude” for your kids?
Amy C. says
Great article today. It’s so easy to get caught up in “life” when we forget sometimes to just stop and look.
This came with God’s perfect timing! This was just on my heart last night, after my four little ones were asleep, I felt like I hardly engaged with them at all during the day, and it made me feel really bad. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. And YES! I would be interested in the challenge! It might be just what I need!
So thankful this was a blessing to you, Myra. Funny, but for some reason I felt really nervous about posting this one. Yet the feedback from everyone has been so encouraging. I pray God will use these lessons He is teaching me to help others, too.
Thanks for the feedback about the challenge, too! I’m working on it!
Sounds like the enemy was trying to discourage you by making you feel nervous. I’m so glad you didn’t let that stop you! God is definitely helping others through you. Not only helping us moms, but our children too! When my boys got home from school yesterday, I took some time to sit on the couch and cuddle for a minute and talk about their day. That was different than my usual, homework, dinner, showers (kind of like a drill sergeant) lol. It was a blessing for all of us. Seems funny that sometimes we need to be reminded about the important things in life, but sometimes we do! Blessings to you! :)
I love hearing from mamas that are living out all the tough actions we speak of. It is so hard to not get so wrapped up in life and daily-ness to stop a just pray in the midst of it all. Thank you for sharing this!
Thanks, Marissa. I struggle sometimes with feeling guilty about not doing enough, even when I’m weary from doing so much! But almost every time I bring that care before the Lord, He shows me that when I’m focused on *doing*, I’m usually busy in the wrong places. Sometimes I can mix up doing *for* rather than doing *with,* if that makes any sense. I fall into this same trap in my relationship with Jesus. I don’t want to just be doing ministry for Him, I want to be doing ministry with Him.
Thanks for today’s post–like others have said, it was just what I needed to hear to confirm my suspicions. “It’s not just about being around each other, but engaging together.
Are we able to eliminate the preoccupied uh huhs, absorbed just a minutes, and distracted in a seconds from our vocabularies?” Those sentences really hit home w/me. Tonight I spent some intentional one-on-one time w/my kids and it was nice and I could tell they appreciated it. :)
I needed this reminder today…thank you. I can totally relate to their bad attitudes lighting my short fuse. Trying to focus on giving them some quality time to try and avoid those bad attitudes.
And yes, I’d be very interested in a series on engaging our kids.
Thanks for your feedback on the series, Kirsten. I’m getting to work on it! :)
Oh, goodness I almost wish I hadn’t come across this post but I need the reminder. There is so much truth to that old adage, “If Mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” and we mothers do so much, good or bad, to set the tone of our home.
Off to wake my children with a prayerful heart.
Natasha Metzler says
What a great reminder. Not just with our kids, but with everyone we come in contact with, we should be looking past what is visible to see what is going on in their heart.
Thanks, Natasha. Praying I remember, too. Sometimes it’s so easy (or feels like it!) to react instead of getting to the heart of the matter. Praying for the discernment and patience to *see.*
now that my kids are older (teens) this engaging time is harder to come by. if one of those guys asks me to do something, it feels like a miracle and i jump at the chance. but i remember those weary days of puzzles and games and reading and blocks when what i wanted was sleep or to read more than one paragraph a day in a good novel….the fact that you are seeking to challenge yourself in this area tells me that you are a great. mom. (the teacher in me praises you for spending REAL time with your kids. it makes a huge difference.)
You are always such an encourager, Kendal, and I so appreciate you! praying for you tonight!