January 29, 2015

The Mommy Pep Talk I Just Gave Myself (Because I Have a Stubborn Child)


Mother of a Stubborn Child.

Woman who came pretty darn close to turning in her resignation papers this morning:

You got this.

I know, I know. Some days can be really hard.

Like those days when you have play dates, and the Mommies spend the entire time playing Police Officer because your child cannot for the life of her learn to share. And you wonder why you don't just stay home so Toddler can have all of the toys (and you) to herself.

Or like those other days when you actually feel kind of afraid to say “No” to Toddler, because you know the Tantrum-Storm that will immediately come your way. (Complete with throwing herself to the ground and what the Bible calls “Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth.”)

Or like those days when you tell Toddler to say “Please,” or to give Grandpa a hug, or to be nice to her Aunt, and she lifts up her arm like she is going to try to backhand you instead. (Complete with that Stink Face that makes your blood boil.)

But Self, it’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay.

Because remember when Toddler was younger, and there were so many things you thought would never happen?

Like, remember how you thought she would never sleep through the night? And then many months and consistent bedtime routines later, she finally learned to sleep a full twelve hours?

And remember all of those times when you thought she would never stop slapping your face? But then many weeks, scoldings, and spankings later, she finally stopped doing that?

And Toddler is not the only one who has grown. You have grown up in a lot of  ways too:

Just think, it has been almost a year and a half since you cried for an hour with your child through her first major bowel movement.

It has been almost sixteen months since you hucked that musical seahorse as hard as you could against the wall in your frustration that Baby would not for the life of her take a nap.

It has been almost a year since you sat your screaming baby down in one room and then walked into the other room to scream obscenities at the top of your lungs in your anger that you could not for the life of you figure out how to soothe her.


Whether you realize it or not, there has been progress.

You and your child are making progress. And the same will be true for whatever stage of Motherhood and Childhood you are in right now.

Time flies. And this too shall pass.

So take heart, Self. Mother of a Stubborn Child. Woman who came pretty darn close to turning in her resignation papers this morning.

Your child refuses to wear clothes, but demands to wear a winter stocking cap? (I bet she won’t do that in Middle School.)

Your one-and-a-half-year-old already rips off all of the healthy crust from her morning toast, but then minutes later claims she is still hungry? (She will probably make up the next “I-Only-Eat-Grass” Health Movement when she’s an educated 22-year-old.)

Your stubborn Toddler has the will of a donkey and the strength of an ox? (Pray to the good Lord above that someday she will put that same stubborn will and strength into a life that is full of justice and mercy and humility and love.)

I know, Self. Some days you are tired.

But remember what Husband told you that one time when you asked him: “Why am I so tired all of the time?”

He said: “You are raising a child to become an adult.”

Indeed. You are raising a child to become an adult. And that takes energy. And sweat. And guts. You are in the trenches, my friend.

But remember this: there is nobody better equipped for this job than you are. You are her mother. 

In the group called “Humans That Live on Planet Earth,” nobody knows your child as well as you do.

No matter who she spends time with during her day, no matter how big of a village it takes to raise your child, this job of teaching her justice and mercy and humility and love, this job of discipline and consistency is primarily yours. (And Husband's, of course.)

More than School’s job. Even more than Church’s job.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

And Self, you know.

You know that nobody in the group called “Humans That Live on Planet Earth” loves your child as much as you do either.

You love her so much.

And if you ever forget how much you love her, just remember those times you tip-toed into her room after she fell asleep at night. Remember how her face that was once contorted by a Tantrum-Storm now lays peacefully still.

And remember how when you looked at her sleeping peacefully you swore she is the best thing that has ever happened to you and Husband. The best.

So keep on keepin' on, Soldier.

Go to those play dates that I promise will eventually teach Toddler to share.

When necessary, say “No.”

Consistently discipline.

Pick the battles that teach her justice and mercy and humility and love.

And let the other battles go.

Show her through each mundane task that keeps your family alive and healthy – what love is.

And tell her with your words just how delighted you are that she is your child.

You got this.

Through the grace and mercy and love of God alone, you got this.

Grace and Peace,