Motherhood comes with lots of stuff — joy, laughter, and stress! And, motherhood comes with one thing every mom gets and no mom wants… guilt!
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 regrets.
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!)
- 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. Someone needs to pick the Play-Doh out of the dog’s hair. 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 kids’ souls. That is the ultimate goal of parenting, isn’t it? We want to nurture and shape the souls of our kids.
- 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.
Just because a child is in a tizzy because he can’t find his 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.
- 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
This post originally appeared on JenniferRothschild.com and was republished with permission.
Jennifer Rothschild has written 14 books, including the bestseller Lessons I Learned in the Dark and Me, Myself, and Lies. She’s been featured on Good Morning America and Dr. Phil and is the founder of Fresh Grounded Faith events. Jennifer became blind at age 15 and now helps others live beyond limits.