Yesterday was one of “those” days in parenting. My kids had the day off school for President’s Day, and they’d also had last Thursday and Friday off for teacher work days. That’s right, a FIVE DAY WEEKEND—for them! And double-duty five days in a row for me. As a work-at-home mom, my life is far less stressful when my kids are at school. We can all enjoy each other much better when our routine is intact—I’m not working when they get home from school on a normal day, but when they’re off and I’m not—it’s a whole different story. I don’t like to work when my kids are home, but I save up my childcare budget for the summers, not for these weird school breaks.
Alas, yesterday I reached the end of my rope. Work wasn’t going well, and a third straight work day of constant interruptions about did me in. I was having a minor work emergency, trying to fix something precise and turn it back into a non-emergency, when someone pounded on our front door. I ignored it for a second, trying to actually you know, FINISH what I started. I just needed one more second! My sons were screaming loudly (playing, not injured at least!) and I was trying to concentrate and finish up so I could get the door. That’s when my 9-year-old felt the need to inform me in her most know-it-all voice that someone was knocking on the door, as if I couldn’t hear. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I snapped. “I KNOW!” I yelled at her. “I’M NOT DEAF!”
Mother of the year.
Anger is one thing that totally surprised me about motherhood. My ability to not handle chaos or disobedience well and totally lose it is second to none. Before becoming a mom, I’d never dealt with so much anger coming from myself. I’d never been so challenged, so frustrated, so easy to annoy.
Turns out the beings that I birthed, that I love more than anything in the world, can also make me more angry than I ever knew I could get.
So. It’s not okay for me to scream my head off at my kids every day, no matter what they may do to trigger that anger. As a grown up, it’s my job to work on my failings in this area—but happily I’m not alone. Last year I met a blogger Wendy Speake at a conference and I’m SO glad I did! She has partnered with Amber Lia to write a book for moms on dealing with anger in parenting, and I’ve found it to be amazingly helpful. Although obviously, based on my performance yesterday, I still need a lot of practice in implementing them, the strategies and eye-opening anecdotes and quotes is the book, Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses have given me some excellent tools to help handle my anger. Because I’m such a pal, I’ve pulled out 10 of my favorite quotes from the book—but this is one you’ll definitely want to have your own copy of! Check these quotes out, mamas, and they’ll get you started on responding to your kids in a godly way—not a natural, reactionary one.
1. When we exchange angry words for angry words, nasty face for nasty face, slamming door for slamming door, and tear them down with our words because they tore us down with theirs, they will never feel remorse for their own actions. We have hijacked that teachable moment. – Wendy Speake
2. We can demand respect because of our rank, or we can foster respect because of our righteousness. – Amber Lia
(This one made me say, “OH SNAP!” Ouch!)
3. It is the most ridiculous thing in the world that we correct our children with the same wrong behavior we’re telling them not to do. They whine and complain, so we whine and complain about their whining and complaining, thinking this will make them stop whining and complaining. – Wendy Speake
(Again with the OUCH!)
4. Angry punishments crush our children’s spirits, but loving consequences correct their hearts. –Amber Lia
5. Plan right words when their behavior is wrong… so that your behavior remains right. –Wendy Speake
6. Turn to Him so often that you end up looking at Him all the time! Glance at Him so much, you end up gazing at Him for the rest of your life. –Wendy Speake
7. How do you know if you are feeling an unhealthy guilt versus a righteous conviction? Guilt defeats. Conviction catapults—towards spiritual growth and freedom! –Amber Lia
8. Are you so over-taxed by your multiple tasks that there’s nothing left over for the most important tasks God has for you? –Wendy Speake
(I think I’ll just get a sitter or take the day off the next time the kids are off school. Easier said than done, but I can’t take my over-taxation out on my kids.)
9. Plan right words when their behavior is wrong… so that your behavior remains right. –Wendy Speake
10. Only when we create a safe environment for honesty can we help our kids become truth-tellers. – Amber Lia
Honestly just reading through these again as I write this is SO convicting (moving me toward action! Not guilt!) and helpful at the same time. My children may do wrong and make me angry, but it’s not ok for me to be wrong in my responses to them.
Do you struggle with anger as a mom? I don’t want my kids to be afraid of me or have bad memories of my overreactions. That’s why I’ve made working on this a priority. Which one of these quotes was most helpful to you?
All quotes taken from the book, Triggers: Exchanging Parent’s Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. If you struggle with anger in your home from the sheer effort of it all, if you find yourself yelling at your children and struggling with shame, I encourage you to order a copy of Triggers, by Wendy Speake and Amber Lia, published by BRU Publications. For more information about Triggers, visit us here.
Now there’s a new Triggers STUDY GUIDE for parents!!
“Triggers: Exchanging Parent’s Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses examines common parenting issues that cause us to explode inappropriately at our children. Moving beyond simple parenting tips on how to change your child’s behavior, authors Amber Lia and Wendy Speake offer biblical insight and practical tools to equip and encourage you.
Along with the brand new Triggers Study Guide, now available for purchase through Amazon, you’ll go further than ever before in your journey away from anger-filled reactions toward gentle, biblical responses.”