My friend Rhonda Rhea and her husband had five babies in seven years. She jokes that the Lord gathered the angels around Him, pointed to their family, and said, “Guys, watch this! It’s going to be real funny!” Like the time Rhonda went out to dinner with her husband, leaving their fourteen-year-old in charge at home. During the date, she received a call from her twelve-year-old.
“Mom, what gets blood out of carpet? Should I use Lemon Pledge or bleach?”
“Put down the chemicals and step away from the carpet,” Rhonda said. “What happened?”
They ended up going to the hospital since one of the kids had fallen down the stairs and needed stitches.
Family life is full of the unexpected. When you think everything is going well, the phone rings, the cat wanders into the living room covered in pudding, and your toddler throws up in the toy box (yes, that happened to Rhonda too).
Whether it is behavior issues, messes to clean, destructive choices, or health problems, our kids can go haywire. Haywire is defined as “not functioning properly, disorganized, erratic or crazy.” Sound familiar? Here’s three things you can do that will help:
1. Realize You Aren’t Alone
When we were brand-new parents, we lovingly referred to our firstborn as “the lump.” Ethan was like a sack of potatoes, not moving an inch unless we helped him. That lump was seven pounds of pure heaven on earth—well, until he cried and went haywire, which happened to be often.
I remember when he was about six weeks old, and he was crying and crying upstairs in his crib. I had all my parenting books cracked open, sprawled across the kitchen table. Was he hungry? Wet? Needing to be held? Too hot, too cold? I trudged up the stairs, and by the time I reached his bedroom door, he had raised the volume a few decibels. I walked over to his crib and stood over my little screaming lump.
“How are you doing, little one?” I asked.
To my utter surprise, he stopped crying immediately. His chocolate-chip brown eyes connected to mine. His body relaxed and he melted into his sheets. He blinked a few times, then closed his eyes. Slowly and gingerly I backed out of the room, pausing in the hallway to see if the tirade would begin again. It didn’t.
A few minutes later, I peeked in to find my lump fast asleep. That was the first time I remember Ethan being soothed simply by my presence. He didn’t need to be fed or diapered. He didn’t need the heat turned on or off. He didn’t even need to be held or touched. He only needed the reassurance that he was not alone.
Kids aren’t the only ones who need reassurance. We moms need to know we’re not alone—especially when our kids are screaming their heads off.
Kathi Lipp writes in her book I Need Some Help Here!,
One of the most powerful sentences in the English language is “Me too!” It helps us discover who our people are. Some of my closest friends started out as acquaintances who, once their children went off the rails, became my mom army. My closest comrades in arms…
I know that your kids will not always do things the way you would want them to. Your toddler will throw tantrums. Your preschooler will be defiant. Your preteen will be disrespectful. Your teenager will throw tantrums (yes, sadly, we circle back to that). And mine have too. It’s pretty much a motherhood guarantee: your kid will break your heart.
But I have another guarantee for you. Once your heart has been broken for your kids, God can use that brokenness to woo you to be the kind of parent he needs you to be. You just must be willing to hand them over to him. He will do the hard work of restoration for you because you are his child.
2. Pray to God
When your children aren’t turning out according to plan, go straight to the Creator and pray about your kids. Hand them over to God and allow Him to do the work of restoration. The Bible says in Psalm 55:22,
Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.
3. Reach Out For Support
Find other godly moms who can support you through the tough times of parenting. When Karen Ehman was having a rough day, she called her friend Micca Campbell, who passed along one of her grandmother’s sayings: “Sometimes you need to stop talking to your kids about God, and start talking to God about your kids.” Karen realized:
Sometimes if all I’m doing is preach, preach, preaching to my kids with my finger pointed, they don’t hear me. Sometimes I need to be quiet and go talk to God about my kids. I wear through the knees of my jeans more now than when my kids were younger. When they were little, I was homeschooling and they were always within my sight. Sad to say, that was probably when my prayer life was the worst. Why pray? I had it all handled. Everybody was around the table. But as they grew older, less was in my control.
Have you ever thought the lack of control you’re experiencing may actually be a good thing because it drives you to depend on God? As much as we hate to admit it, we are not in charge. Take the burden of your child’s bad behavior off your shoulders and place them on God’s. You cannot live your child’s life. But you can pray that he or she will obey the Word of God and live.
Lord, You have a plan for my child. You are in control. When he or she doesn’t do what I want, give me wisdom as a mom. Give me patience when I want to react in anger. Show me what my child looks like through Your eyes. I trust You to work all things together for good in my child’s life.
From 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane