Bed Time Blessing Bags

“But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation.”  Luke 6:49

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI am a terrible mother at bedtime. By that hour of the day my tank is empty, and there’s not a shred of patience left in me. To protect my kids from the mean mommy that lurks within, my husband usually puts our kids to bed.

That being said, in our household my husband has every Wednesday night off (my night off is Thursday). So tag I’m it for Wednesdays. Knowing this, I’m very conscious of keeping some energy and patience in reserve on Wednesdays so I can make it through bedtime.

However, last Wednesday was a longer day than usual. Mason had baseball practice at night. I should have known what was coming.

Although bedtime is typically 8 p.m., we were just leaving the ball field at that hour. I spent the short drive home stressing the fact that my kids had to get ready for bed the second we got in the door. Despite my lecture, Zack decided to sharpen his drawing pencil at 8:30 p.m. and accidentally detached the sharpener from the pantry wall.

Putting aside my own desperate need for the freedom that was already supposed to be mine, I tried to help him. But three seconds into it, when I couldn’t fix the situation, the switch flipped inside of me. I COMPLETELY lost it: screaming and yelling to the point of flapping my arms like a crazy lady! Immediately, there was the frantic pitter-patter of little feet running up the stairs and bedroom doors slamming as all three kids ran for cover.

My kids know this side of me all too well. I suppose I don’t have enough mommy guilt to feel bad about it; a person can only do so much. We all have our breaking points, and bedtime is mine (there are a lot of other times too, but…).

I justify it by saying it would be worse if I were a perfect mother. My kids would have to live up to that when they’re parents. I jokingly say I’m saving them from therapy by being so flawed.

The real truth is, I know I need to try harder. I can’t be like the person in the parable from Luke 6 who listens but does not act. At the very least, I need to put some sort of bedtime safety net in place, a foundation of sorts: a way to smooth things over if I misstep while walking through the bedtime minefield.

Over the summer I saw the movie Miracles From Heaven (a movie I highly recommend). Jennifer Garner plays the mom. Each night, she visits each of her kids after they have gone to bed. She asks them what they prayed for that night. I loved that the last memory each of her kids had before drifting off to sleep was of sharing their deepest hope with their mom.

I’ve always been a big fan of gratitude and Karen O’Connor’s Blessing Bag idea. So I’m combining concepts. This past weekend, I hung Blessing Bags off each of my kids’ beds. Every night now, I visit each of them after they have gone to bed. I ask them what they are most grateful for from that day. I write whatever they say on a little piece of paper, fold it, and then together we say, “Thank you God,” as I drop the paper into their bag.

No matter what transpired during the day, no matter if I lost my cool or not, their final memory before going to bed now is one of a loving time with me. More importantly, they are expressing deep gratitude to God. In my mind, there can be no stronger foundation to build upon.

Questions For Reflection:

     * When is my weakest point in my parenting day?

     * Is there a safety net, a foundation of sorts, I can put in place to either avoid the pitfall, or redeem the moment?

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9 thoughts on “Bed Time Blessing Bags

  1. Claire, thank you for acknowledging and using my ‘blessing bag’ idea in your family. This practice transformed my life, as well. I start and end every day with gratitude.

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    • Thank you SO much for visiting and commenting, Karen! I’m even more grateful for how your idea has rooted my family in deep gratitude to God. Like I said in my post, that is a wonderful foundation for us all to build upon. Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How great that the author of the original article read your blog and commented! So many have tremendous worries, finding just one positive thing each day is a true blessing and
    can lighten the spirits. Great post, Claire–very proud of you as always!! xoxo

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    • Isn’t it awesome that Karen commented?! I love how down to earth she is. Thank you again, Mom, for being the one who gave me my first Blessing Bag. I’m so grateful to it and you for teaching me how to look and be grateful for the blessings in each day.

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  3. This is so refreshing to read – I, too, “flip out” at times and I feel so guilty! Like the worst mother ever. I work on this and know that my screaming will only make my children screamers too….so I pray for patience all the time! Bedtime is definitely the hardest time for me too….and when I’m getting the kids to bed later than usual, the stress quickly climbs. I feel like I’m unorganized, that I should be better at getting dinner done, cleaning up, washing them up, getting them ready for bed, choosing clothes for the next day, reading their books AND finally, praying together. And if it’s later than the perfect 8pm time, I say “well, I we are not reading tonight girls”……I’m just too tired! And I forget the prayer. And then, the guilt. For not teaching my girls the importance of prayer and gratitude……AHHHH!!!!!!!!! It’s not easy. But I love this idea of the blessings bag and think it will make me feel better knowing we ended the day with knowing our blessings and feeling gratitude.

    Thank your for opening yourself to us, for your honesty and heart.
    Sandra

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    • Thank you, Sandra, for also opening up and admitting that you too stumble while navigating through the bedtime minefield. I HIGHLY recommend adopting Karen’s Blessing Bag at bedtime. I can already feel the difference with my kids, and I’ve only been doing it for a week and a half!

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