When I Don't Like The Mother I'm Being

I'm kind of in the 'home stretch' of my first year of homeschooling. 

It's almost May and I am SO ending when the public schools end in June. I need the break. 

It's been quite the year, juggling the management of so many things: my two daughter's education; their relationship as siblings that are together so much; their emotional lives; their spiritual growth; their development in this year in their feminity; the balance between how much they play, work, see other people, do chores, learn to pursue other interests; my OWN emotions, spiritual growth, development in feminity, balance between how much I rest, work, pursue other interests; the housework and all that goes into maintaining and growing in caring for a house; my relationship with my husband...the list goes on and on and ON.

And oftentimes...I feel like I'm being crushed under the weight of it all. Multi-tasking it all. Doing so many things at once. And the mental to-do list never gets smaller. 

And when I feel like I'm being crushed, I go through my day feel overwhelmed...and often downright irritable. I'm grumpy towards my kids. I'm short with them and their problems. I mutter under my breath. I bark at my daughters. It's NOT very pretty. 

And I don't like myself like that. I don't like feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, let alone the weight of our household. I don't like muttering under my breath. I don't like barking at my girls.

(Quick disclaimer that I WISH I could explain easily and quickly, but I probably can't <WAH!!>: I DON'T like barking at my girls out of frustration...but I DO like (or am LEARNING to like) leading my girls WITH STRENGTH....which sometimes, to an outsider, doesn't look all that different. Somewhere in Christian parenting, we've gotten the idea that we must be NICE to our kids, must be only KIND and SWEET to our kids, to be righteous. I sure have had that idea. We think that IF ONLY WE COULD BE NICER, less angry, less frustrated, more patience, more NICE, we'd be better parents. And our kids would suffer less. But that's really not necessarily TRUE. This is pretty much what I want to say below, but I'll say it quickly here: most of our kids DON'T REALLY NEED MORE NICE. They need a STRONG, Spirit-filled, boundary-setting parent leading them. They need your Holy-Spirit-Filled-Strength. Not your wishy-washy, smiley (fake, suppressed) niceness. 

But they also don't need your barking at them. And I find that tension, that line between the two kind of complicated.)

God has been quietly whispering to my spirit over and over and over again since 2016 turned into 2017 that the next step for me is to value and honor and prioritize DAILY the habit of getting away and having time with Him.

It's like this: it's like there's this little cracked cup, and I'm dying of thirst, and the cup has three drops of water in it, and I keep going back to it to try to tip it into my parched mouth to try to quench the burning thirst.

But there's a waterfall that I could be standing under of fresh, drinkable water, or a lake of sweet, sweet water I could just dive into. 

But I keep going back to the three drops in the cup.

For whatever reason, I've heard that invitation of God to come to His waterfall, His lake, His fountain, but I keep trying to make it through my days on the three drops of: what exciting food I'll be eating today! What book I could sneak in a few minutes to read! What moments of sleep I can get! What break from tasks I can find! What tasks I can checkoff my to-do list! 

And it leaves me irritable and muttering under my breath, and I don't like myself.

But do you know where the waterfall would leave me? Changed. From what I am currently not, to what I am being renewed into. I am being made new, from what I am in my own strength, to all the things God promises that He, in His power and His grace and His love will sanctify me into...but how can I be renewed, be changed, be made new, if I am not daily before Him, with Him, under the waterfall?

So I sat my daughters down this morning, and I apologized to them for snapping at them yesterday when I was doing too many things at once: trying to keep my already-swept floors clean, cook dinner, bake cookies with them while simultaneously 'homeschool' them by teaching them about measuring and following a recipe. I ended up barking at them about 'not spilling one single grain of brown sugar on the floor'...and it was ridiculous. 

It reminded me of the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10 where Martha is 'very busy and distracted with all her serving responsibilities,' and she's bitter inside of her heart. Jesus doesn't commend her for her work. He commends Mary, who's getting NO TASK DONE, but He says that she has chosen 'what is better, that which is to her advantage.'

I told my girls today that sometimes they find me to be grumpy and worried about too many things, because I haven't spent time in the waterfall, and I'm asking the three cup-drops to fill me up for the day.

And I also told myself that today will be the end of hearing the Father's invitation to the waterfall, and hesitating. Or trying again to make it through with just the cup. My girls need me, my husband needs me, the world needs me, I need me, to make the decision to set aside time to dive in daily.