Motherhood comes with lots of stuff — joy, laughter and stress! And, motherhood comes with one thing every mom gets and no mom wants… guilt!
But, one thing it does not come with is a rewind button! We can’t rewind and redo what we regret. But, that’s okay, sister. We can do something to prevent some of the regret.
We can rethink.
When you find yourself in a stressful mom moment with your kids, you can ask yourself these three questions really fast. Thinking through these questions can make a huge difference in how you move forward.
I tried to summarize them into easy phrases you can remember in a moment of hair-brained frenzy! (Because the moment of crazy chaos or conflict is when you need to pause and ask these questions the most!)
1. Immediate or Ultimate?
Am I reacting to the immediate, or am I responding to the ultimate?
The immediate may be one kid hitting another, the dog running through the house with Play-Doh in his mouth, or a sugared-up toddler wielding a juice box as he climbs all over your couch.
When we react to the immediate, we can often lose it. Scream. Yell. Freak out! And, all those things I listed need a quick reaction. Somebody needs to restrain the little fist fighters. Somebody needs to pick Play-Doh from the dog hair. And, somebody needs to clean the couch. But, what I just described is a response to a situation, not a reaction to people.
In other words, if you don’t think about it, you can react to the immediacy of a situation and, consequently, overreact to your kids. But, if you respond to the ultimate, you are reacting less to a situation and more to a soul. Your kid’s souls. That is the ultimate goal of parenting, isn’t it? We want to nurture and shape the souls of our kids.
2. Absorb or Observe?
Am I absorbing the stress and emotion of this situation when I should simply observe it?
Sometimes, we moms get so wrapped up in situations that we take on all the emotion and stress. And, most often, it isn’t our stress and emotion to take on or take in.
Just because a child is in a tizzy because they can’t find their jersey and the game is in thirty minutes doesn’t mean we need to start hyperventilating like little Joey! Instead of absorbing his emergency, we can observe it.
When we observe, we can better, objectively, coach and assist. When we absorb the situation, we become as useless and emotional as the one we’re trying to help.
3. Transmit or Transform?
Do I really need to transmit my disapproval to my child, or should I transform my attitude instead?
Not every moment in parenting has to be a full blown James Dobson worthy teachable moment. Some moments are just to be experienced. Just because we aren’t happy with our child’s choice doesn’t mean we must express it at that moment.
Sometimes, instead of transmitting our disapproval, a more powerful choice can be to transform our attitude. It is interesting how kindness does lead to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
Think about it, God could transmit His disapproval with almost every choice we make, but He forbears and shows us kindness. That kindness draws us to repentance.
When we transform our attitude, we are not tolerating a wrong in our children… we are often preventing a wrong action in ourselves. Often transmitting our disapproval without really considering our tone or timing does more damage. But, when we transform our attitude, it cleanses our hearts and makes the parenting process about our kid’s hearts and not our pride.
So, take five minutes to think about those three questions. If you really consider them before a conflict arises, you’ll be better equipped to respond in a way you won’t regret.
Lord, please give me a vision for my ultimate goal for my kids. Help me to respond to their souls more than the immediate situations I encounter. Help me to take a step back from the craziness and just observe it rather than become a part of it. Transform me, Lord. Make me a mom who can rest in You. Amen
Jennifer Rothschild is a nationally known author and speaker who has written 11 books, including the bestsellers Lessons I Learned in the Dark, Self Talk-Soul Talk and her latest release, Invisible: How You Feel Is Not Who You Are. She’s been featured on Good Morning America, The Dr. Phil Show, The Learning Channel, Women of Faith and Extraordinary Women. She is the founder of Fresh Grounded Faith events and womensministry.net. She and her husband, whom she affectionately calls “her very own Dr. Phil,” have 2 sons and a lovely daughter-in-law. Jennifer is a C.S. Lewis junkie who enjoys strong coffee, dark chocolate, great conversation, international travel and audiobooks. Jennifer became blind at age fifteen and now helps others live beyond limits. Learn more at www.JenniferRothschild.com
Check out Jennifer's new book: Invisible: How You Feel Is Not Who You Are