Do you have grumpy children? Me too. The other day, my four year old daughter glared at me. I glared back. We had a stare-down. Yeah. That’s my maturity level sometimes. Honestly? I was just out of grace. I was tired.
The spring sun was shining through the windows, but instead of seeing the sunshine, I saw grime that needed to be cleaned. Fingerprints. Dirt. I looked around me. The kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off under the sink—and dishes, like shrapnel had exploded all over the place. There were dishes in family room, in the office and even on the stairs. I started to clean the mess up, but as I cleaned, my attitude worsened. The kitchen laundry hamper was full of kitchen towels. Schoolbooks were strewn across the kitchen table and someone’s newly acquired newt had taken residence on top of the piano.
I’d love to tell you that I acted perfectly, but I didn’t. I freaked out. I called a meeting. Okay. Not really. I yelled for the kids. “Kids!! Get down here!!” I waited. Nothing. I yelled louder. “Don’t make me come up there!”
In a few minutes, four pairs of eyes were staring at me from the couch. I laid it out so that they would be sure to understand.
“How many times to I have to tell you?? Dishes go here, not there! Look at the family room! It’s a mess! Schoolbooks go back on the shelf! What’s wrong with you??”
They trudged to their assigned chores, whining and complaining.
… “and STOP COMPLAINING!” I wailed.
Probably not my best parenting moment.
It hit me that evening after I put the kids to bed. Weary and discouraged, I had forgotten how truly blessed I was. In so many ways, mothers set the tone at home, and I know it! I speak on this topic all the time, and I was setting the tone alright, but it wasn’t a very nice one. I was being selfish and ungrateful.
There I was, expecting them to help out around the house and not complain—but I was complaining.
I was expecting the kids to joyfully obey me—but I was not joyfully obeying my Father.
If we want our children to be joyful, we need to be joyful. The example starts with us. We light the way for little feet to walk behind us. We can’t give our kids what we don’t have. And while bad days don’t make bad moms, consistent complaining and grumbling will not bring about the righteousness of God that you are trying to instill into your kids.
We need the Lord do to this parenting thing right. Don’t forget to keep drawing from well that will never run dry, busy mom! You can do all things—even hard things—through Christ who gives you everything you need.