She had finished washing her hands, just like I asked her, and we were almost there. The goal line. The finish. You know- bedtime. That glorious moment when light shines down on the pillows of small children and Mama prays, then breathes a huge sigh of relief.
But back to the handwashing. We weren’t quite to bedtime yet. And instead of turning around to the towel rack and wiping her hands in typical fashion, my sweet girl began to fling her hands all over the place like a wet dog drying off. Water spots with a hint of soapy bubbles now covered the previously spotless mirror, which was just one of the many items cleaned and scrubbed that day. This precious time of night that should have been full of snuggles and kisses and hugs and giggles suddenly overflowed with a loud Mama yelling voice. “Why did you do that?” And the cares of the day, the hours of scrubbing from an overdue, post-holiday cleaning, the filled voicemail inbox, the backlog of emails, yes, all those crazy details came crashing down on this mama’s head at once. All because of a few soapy water spots on the mirror.
Were they worth it? After a statement or two more of ranting, I looked into my sweet girl’s eyes and I knew. She wasn’t being malicious. She didn’t want Mama to overwork. She simply experienced a joyful moment of happiness that sparked an itch into her fingers. Flinging them in the air seemed much happier and easier than wiping them on the towel. And no, those water spots were not worth the adverse effect my words had on my daughter.
I know you’ve been there. Those moments when the feelings raged and seemed justified, but after a glimpse into the soul of your child, you knew. Those words, my yelling, my anger? They were not worth wounding my girl. And after cooling down, reading a book, and apologizing for my harsh words and tone, we snuggled and cuddled and hugged and kissed. Thankful for a do-over, I jotted down a few notes about how I could avoid this issue.
How can Mamas curb the anger before it strikes? Take a look at these 4 ideas.
1. Do your best to get the rest you need.
Take breaks when you can, get a full night’s rest as often as possible and give yourself a timeout of the best kind whenever you can. When I’m tired, whether mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually, the feelings of anger can take hold quicker.
2. Press pause and pray immediately when negative feelings surface.
As soon as overwhelmed, discouraged thoughts begin to rear their ugly heads, ask the Lord to remove them. Greater is he who lives in us than he who lives in the world. When we ask him to take these thoughts from our mind, he will do it.
Prayer should be my first response, not my last resort. – One More Step
3. Replace those feelings of rage with truth.
Whether anger, frustration, or fatigue, latch on to the truth of a situation and repeat it in your mind. Take a piece of paper and make a line down the middle. On one side, write down your feelings. On the other, write out the truth of the situation.
For instance, in my situation above, I could recognize my daughter’s innocence and my own short fuse. I knew she was not deliberately harming or damaging. Once I focused on the truth of the situation, I could see that my feelings needed to be set aside and an apology was in order.
4. Resist the urge to lash out and let the Holy Spirit control your anger.
Keeping our mouths closed in order to think things through is always helpful. If we can learn to give the Spirit control over the situation, then taming our tongues becomes easier as time passes. Psalm 4:4 says, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.” (NLT)
Which of these 4 tips resonates the most with you? We’d love your feedback today!
By his grace,