Last week, my husband relayed an interesting conversation he had with our seven-year-old daughter.
Interesting in a sobering, stab-me-in-the-heart-why-don’t-you kind of way.
Their talk went something like this.
“Dad, why is Mom so cranky?”
“I don’t know, sweetheart, why do you ask?”
“Because she yelled at me when we were making popcorn, and I don’t know why.”
“Oh, Mom didn’t mean it, lovey. She’s just tired.”
“Yeah, Dad. I think she needs more sleep. Because Mom is always cranky.”
I’ve got plenty of excuses for my less-than-stellar mom moments. This house is too noisy for my introverted psyche. I’m weary from a long and busy day. My to-do list is out of control. I’ve got a lot on my mind, okay, people? And if these kids would just cooperate and brush their teeth and pick up their crayons and stop climbing on the sofa when they’re told for crying out loud—then I wouldn’t have to be so crabby!
Well . . . .
Think about it. We moms are children, too.
Would he treat us that way?
I’m pretty sure I disobey and disappoint God all the time, yet great is my Father’s faithfulness. His compassions are new every morning, and he loves me with an unfailing love.
God wouldn’t snap at me for turning the popcorn crank too slow.
Recently I told a trusted friend and counselor that I’m just in a rough season. I’m busy, overwhelmed with freelance work, ministry, the end of the school year, family demands. One thing on top of another is crowding my white space and making me a little cuckoo. But it’s just a season! I’ll pull through!
“Becky, you’ve been in that season for a long time.”
Cranky has become my norm.
A bad day is understandable. We all have them, and God’s grace blows through the house to help pick up our mess and start fresh the next morning. But when one bad day transitions to another and another and another ad infinitum, that’s no longer just a bad day.
That’s a legacy.
And I don’t want my kids to define me as their perpetual crab.
So I listened humbly to my husband, inhaled deep, and wrote these familiar words on my kitchen chalk board:
“Love is PATIENT, love is KIND.” (I Corinthians 13:4a, emphasis added)
It really is that simple. In this house live the people I love best. Therefore, they should be granted the greatest claims on my kindness. Not my crankiness.
Yes, I’m bound to slip, maybe even tomorrow—or today. You probably will, too. But the key for us moms is to be aware of how our words, actions and attitudes are stacking up—even in the midst of constant external pressures—and to make deliberate efforts to pile on more patience, more smiles, more softness, more hugs.
And definitely more popcorn.
Tonight, it’s time to start rebuilding my legacy as a loving mom. I will invite my seven-year-old to man the popper while I cheer from the kitchen counter. And one day, I hope my girls will remember me not as that cranky grumpy snarky old hag but as the kind and easy-going mom who let them sprinkle way too much nacho cheese into their popcorn bowls.
Especially since I taught them to share. With their mother.
Oh, my goodness, I feel like I’m reading my autobiography here, friend. Thanks for this convicting reminder of the legacy I’m leaving in my own home. I’m right there with you-exhuasted. crabby. overwhelmed. behind. And so in need of a fresh dose of JOY. Can’t wait to give you a thank you hug in person at She Speaks:) Praying you through this school year’s end.
This just made my day. 🙂 To meet in PERSON, oh glorious day!
It’s the middle of the night and I’m feeding my baby! I’ll go back to bed thinking about what legacy I’m busy leaving for my children and if it needs to be changed… Thank you xxx
Oh, God bless you Nicolette! You are loved by an amazing God… especially in those midnight feeding moments. Hugs!
Jen Gray says
Oh dear, You’ve put into words so well what I have been thinking about recently. I catch myself yelling all the time- like I’m anticipating my kids ignoring me so I just go straight to them being in trouble. I wake up cranky and go to bed cranky. I hate it when I catch myself in that mode. Its the worst version of myself.
Oh. You are SO not alone.
Hey Becky … Can’t help but think we’re cranky ’cause we’re not focusing on those loved ones, choosing instead to be absorbed in our screens. I love how purposeful you remind us to bve about choosing our legacies.
And sticking our names in that verse in the place of LOVE is a real convictor!
Thanks for these helpful words …
Thank you. I stumbled upon this and needed it so much. My girl has an i tense fear of swimming and I was boiling today over her lack of trust in my ability to help her. The nagging thought that I cant afford swim lessons plagued me as I began to feel more and more helpless watching her refuse to try. It broke my heart to see her struggle and made me angry. Selfishly angry that I have failed her. I wasn’t nice about it. I just wanted her to get over it and swim like all the other kids her age. Definitely a bad Mom moment and something to trust God to help my sweet baby through something she wont let me help her with. My strong willed child.. I pray for the Grace and wisdom to lead her well!
You’re not alone, Jenny! So many of us have had similar mom moments. God’s grace is bigger than we imagine. Hugs to you!
Just reading this now and it’s exactly where I’m at today. Thank you for your honesty. It’s helpful to know that other moms also get cranky when they set out doing a “fun” project w/the kids. Just this morning while washing the car w/my 4 yr old I yelled at her for getting me wet – wasn’t the whole point to have fun? What fun would it be if we didn’t get wet?! I need to remember that sometimes a child’s frame of mind is better for the soul. Thanks again for sharing.
Anna Hettick says
This is exactly what I needed. I have been really trying to be kinder even when I’m overwhelmed and stressed out and I beat myself up every time I slip and fail again. It is so helpful to know that I’m not the only mom that struggles with this issue.
Visiting from Pour Your Heart Out.
“In this house live the people I love best. Therefore, they should be granted the greatest claims on my kindness.”
Ouch, Becky! I had to giggle at the t-rex picture. Wow, that says so much. Taking your words to heart here as summer begins and we have more together time than is healthy for an old lady and two teenage boys. (grin)
Kaylene Yoder says
I wonder, did you happen to be peering into my home lately? Ugh. I can relate to this all too well. I loved this: “when one bad day transitions to another and another and another ad infinitum, that’s no longer just a bad day. That’s a legacy.” I think I need to write that down and slap it on my fridge. Thank you for this! Blessings!
Yes. It’s a verse I repeat often these days. Being cranky and tense, snapping st my husband and kids–my worst weakness as a stay at home mom….also an introvert!! Haha never enough time to think in silence it seems….but an encouraging reminder of what we work for. And it is work but good work to leave a beautiful legacy and reflect Gods love to our families. Thanks!!
I had realized that my boys saw me as a mom who yells a lot and it wasn’t how I wanted them to see me. That’s why I made my resolution to stop. We all get cranky, but I can choose how to let that out.
Thank you for your post. It really hit home. I am a teacher of first graders and a mom to an 8, 6 and 4 year old. I am exhausted! I feel as if I am always yelling at my own children and that I am a cranky, mean, old mom. It’s nice to know that I am not the only mom that feels this way. Thank you for reminding me that I need to cherish these moments and relax a little. I often tell myself that this is their only childhood. I had a wonderful childhood and I want my kids to have a great one too. Thanks again for your inspiring post. 🙂
God bless you, Karla! I have tremendous respect for teachers… and for my fellow moms. 🙂 Thankfully our children are full of forgiveness. They model Jesus for us in that regard.
Oh wow, I am right there with you. I just had one of those moments with my 7 year old daughter. And those moments turned into days. And days into weeks. I recently had a bit of a breakthrough, though, during my quiet time with God, and realized the same thing that you are talking about here. It’s so awesome that I found this today, in the midst of realizing what a cranky, overwhelmed mom I have been. We have so much on us as moms, we need constant interaction with our creator to keep us grounded, focused on heaven and our true purpose. Thanks so much for all of your encouraging posts and emails. I want you to know, you are a part of my journey towards being a more joyful, present mom. God bless you.
Thank you for these kind words, Rebekah! You’ve blessed me today. And we are definitely not alone! With the Lord’s help, let’s kick crabby mom in the pants, amen? Blessings!