I had already spanked (for disobedience) at least twice or thrice and I was exhausted. As she's tossing and turning in her bed, I bow my head and tell God exactly how I'm feeling.
I remind Him how incapable I am of doing this. I vent my frustrations about The Husband and his "lack of involvement" (that wasn't the case, just what I perceived and how I felt). I remind God of my laundry list of items to finish before bed. And then... He stops me, mid-sentence.
"Your first responsibility is to be their mother."
Suddenly, a flood of thoughts straight from His heart inundated my weary Mama soul and I was at peace in the middle of a toddler tantrum storm.
As mothers, we are constantly striving towards grace, patience, mercy, wisdom. We need to know how to mother well, and most of us have a deep, intense desire to do so. We become frustrated when we feel we've failed whether majorly or in the least of ways.
A dear friend texts me a few nights ago, and she demonstrates this concept so well:
"Ugh, I hate days like today. I feel like I failed completely as a mother. I lost my temper more than I should've, and I yelled. A LOT. Tomorrow will be a sit and play with my kids kind of day."
In the middle of this toddler tantrum storm, I realized that almost 100% of the time, whenever I lose my temper with my children and become frustrated it is because I am unwilling to let go of the rest of my agenda. The agenda that goes *beyond* my children. My frustration with my toddler's behavior and my little guy's whining comes less from them and entirely from me. Their childlike behavior is inconvenient to my plan and my agenda.
I have bathrooms to clean. Dishes to wash. Laundry to fold and put away. Parties to plan. Parenting books to read so that I can be a better parent. People to minister to after all.
And all the while I am blaming them for being and doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing (be children, immature and childlike) I lose track of the fact that my agenda begins and ends with Jesus, and He has given me three children to steward over and raise up in the ways of His Kingdom. Everything else is just that... everything else. The mopping and sweeping, the laundry, the cooking, everything else can wait, 100% of the time.
So I encourage weary Mamas to look at the frustration you have with your children as something you can take full ownership of. I invite you to pray alongside me, as I ask Jesus to break into my heart with a full revelation of parenting and how my frustrations come more from my need to control than from my 1 Corinthians manner of love towards my children.