…He gave them what they had craved. But while they still wanted more… Psalm 29b-30a
Last week, I reached a breaking point with my kids. Their selfishness and ingratitude for my effort in giving them a fun summer was off the charts. We seem to reach this place every summer, but now that I’m working while coordinating it all, I hit that breaking point much faster, and with far more fury.
When we moms experience situations like this, it feels like failure. Having worked so hard to raise grateful, polite and kind children, only to have them be self-centered takers makes us wonder why we even bother.
I, for one, was broken – done – determined to end the terrible cycle by just dropping out of the game entirely. I made a grand speech about their lack of awareness, gratitude, and reciprocity, and then told them it was over: There would be no more adventures, no more fun, no more of my time spent on bringing them joy. Then I withdrew, stewed, and licked my wounds for two days.
During those 48 hours, I savored that anger, looking at it from all angles, creating the list in my head of all the ways my kids have wronged me. More than wallowing, I was almost reveling in it. It was far easier to recount all the things I’ve tried to do for my kids than it was to turn the mirror back on myself.
Somewhere, deep in my subconscious, I knew I was guilty of the same behavior as my kids, but I didn’t want to admit it. It was far more satisfying to build myself up than knock myself down.
But if we moms are ever going to grow in our role as nurturers, we have to critique ourselves. We have to use any and all situations as litmus tests to see if we’re guilty of the same misconduct.
Lo and behold, when my anger and hurt passed away, I could see, clear as a bell, that I treat my Heavenly Father exactly how my kids have been treating me. I ask. I beg. I take. Then, I take some more. I do try to show gratitude when I think of it, but living at this break-neck speed means I’m not always mindful of doing so.
Yet, no matter the imbalance and lack of reciprocity on my side, God never, ever pushes me away. Instead, He draws me closer, lovingly pointing out where I’ve fallen short, inspiring me to do better the next time around.
Needless to say, He’s inspired me to take my motherhood role back up, step back into the game, and try again. In His infinite wisdom, He’s shown me how to do so with more clearly defined boundaries and expectations for both my kids, and myself.
Questions for Reflection:
* Have I reached a breaking point with my kids this summer?
* Do I see any of my kids’ bad behavior in myself when I look in the mirror?
The answer to both of your reflection questions is YES! This is a good reminder to look in the mirror and see what my kids are seeing. I’m glad you are extending the kids some grace and stepping back in the game. 🙂
Sorry to hear you’re feeling this too, Pam! Summer can be wonderful, but, oh, can it be hard. Truth be told, I’m stepping back into the game slowly. In fact, one of the boundaries I’ve drawn is having my husband be the “planner” this week so he can appreciate the struggle, and my kids can feel the difference when I’m not as involved. Little by little… we’ll all get back on track.
Life can be exasperating. Give your self a break.
It sure can be, Mary! Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support!