Fighting. For my sanity…but mostly for my kids.

Ever have one of those days? Yeah. One of those days. UGG! Actually kinda having one of those weeks, but then who’s counting right?

The behavior has boiled to a head again. A great big icky and screamy and stompy and “NO! I won’t ______!” and climbing-out-of-windows-to-escape-(he thought)-the-spanking and throwing-and-threatening head. The big storms seem to last about a week or so, and right in the middle of them I find myself falling to pieces. I’ll do ok for the week or two that it’s building. I get firmer and firmer and totally let the screams of hurting words slide off my back, because after all…he’s a KID and he doesn’t MEAN them, he’s just upset because I’m not letting him get away with ___________. (That blank could also be filled in with the screaming of hurtful words even…a wonderful circle of bad behavior…great.) It’s when it erupts into this massive, horrible “Where-is-the-nearest-boys-home?” kind of mess that I start to shatter.

It doesn’t help that I’m feeling all overwhelmed and understaffed/sourced with all the “extras” right now. Not the laundry and dishes kinda stuff. The extra stuff, like painting, new-car shopping, curtain-making, floor-fixing, and oh yeah can you look up _____ for me and get back to me? kinda stuff.

The rooms ALL need tidying up. There are lots of places I still haven’t been able to declutter at all, and many more that still need work. There’s a ton of things that need to be mended/fixed/repaired/replaced/removed/painted/installed etc. I’ve been doing real good the last 2-3 wks to just get the laundry and dishes done and kept up. Never mind getting any of the extras done, so I’m not seeing much progress in terms of getting the house in shape.

So to add the whole behavior pimple into the mix…well, I’m ready to burst! In the thickest bit of the battle I almost always find myself sobbing and praying. I feel more than 150% responsible for well, for everything. Like it MUST be my fault that he’s acting the way he is. There has to be something I’m doing wrong. I feel like because he’s not behaving even remotely ‘ok’, there is obviously something I’m not doing right. It’s bound to be totally my fault he’s acting like this. I should never have been allowed to parent because I’m botching things SO awfully. The kid obviously is needing something, I just don’t know what. He obviously needs someone stronger, wiser, more patient, more SOMETHING to be his mom than I am.

So I sob and I pray. Because I get petrified that despite my efforts, he will wind up in a cell at some point in the future. Because I get terrified that my efforts really are just nowhere near enough. No. I am convinced that they aren’t. And they’re not. No matter how hard I try to discipline him, to correct him, to train him, to guide him, no matter how many times I spank or how long I withhold TV or playing with his friends, his behavior won’t change if Jesus doesn’t help him to change and help me to know what to do on my end.

So I pray and I sob. Because it hurts. Because I feel like a complete failure as a mom. Because I don’t have a clue anymore if ANYTHING I’m doing is doing any good or if it’s even right. Because NOTHING I try seems to get through during these full-on behavior acne breakouts.

Today was one of those days. I managed to grab my shower between 4-5pm. After picking up Meagan, and squeezed in before having to start dinner. I sobbed and prayed until the water ran cold, then chopped down the forest on my legs, got out and made dinner.

Knowing we were having revival tonight at church, I did (barely!) remember to say a quick prayer that the Lord would help the preacher bring the message we needed to hear. The thought did cross my mind that I could sure use an encouraging one, and that I had asked for some reassurance that I was doing things right with the discipline/behavior/etc…or else PLEASE show me what I’m doing wrong and show me how to change it.

And then we went to revival and the preacher brought a message on “10 ways to lose your kids to the world” (and so…in knowing how to lose them to the world -maybe JAIL-, you can see how to fight to keep them -out of JAIL and following Jesus-…). Now, I’m not perfect by ANY stretch of the imagination, but I was downright, absolutely!!!! encouraged by this message because with each point he brought I could say that not only did I agree, but that I am actively trying to keep the kids.

For instance, one point was to let the kids watch anything they want on TV and for as long as they want (dumb even for secular families, of course). I can’t stand the TV. I don’t mind movies now and again and if we DID have cable, there would be a few programs I wouldn’t mind watching some, but the regular TV? I would rather not even have a set. In fact we DIDN’T have one for awhile, and aside from the inability, then, to watch the occasional movie, I LOVED it. The kids didn’t care for it too much, but I loved it. Well, we have a TV again, but I do have programs locked out if they are rated too mature for my liking, and *just tonight*, not even an hour before preachin’ time I had made the kids flip off the set and come to the table to say the blessing and eat (quickly because we were running late). So there it was…”yes, I am doing something right”. (Well, ok, only partially… I really should have made them turn it off 30min sooner when I told them to clear and set the table. Then when I walked in with the hot pot, maybe I would’ve found a spot to put it!)

That’s just one example, but the others were all along the same lines. I wasn’t doing any of them perfectly, but I was trying, and the things I was doing WERE right. So I was totally getting the assurance I needed that I was doing what I ought to be. Room for improvement? Absolutely! But I’m NOT a complete and utter failure of a mom, either. I am on the right track, it’s just gonna be a bumpy ride and I’m gonna have to hang on tight until my little man figures that out. =/

God is so good. Man, I was feeling so much better when we got home. Get this. When we pulled up in the driveway, little man opened not only my door, but Meagan’s door as well. He played the gentleman for his SISTER! WOW! He’s never done that as far as I can recall.

The devil was so ticked. Know how I know? As Matthew was getting his medicines and getting his teeth brushed (without major struggle!), Meagan was deciding to get out the homework that I told her to do this afternoon (and in a moment of overwhelmed-trying-to-defrag-and-fix-dinner-at-the-same-time-ness thought she had actually finished).

9:15pm and she’s pulling out the homework. UGG! Almost immediately the fist-pounding, the grunts, the screaming, the “I can’t find the answer to the stupid problem”, the “you never help me, I know you won’t help me” (nope…won’t give you the answer, you’re right, gotta find it on your own), and the “I’m not going to have it done and it’s going to be your fault!” tirade begins.

Great. One mini-battle won, another begun. Boy the fun never stops around here. *sigh* I do think I handled this one a little better. At least I made it through without actually bawling. A couple of quick prayers, absolutely (I’d be a fool not to get the Lord’s help!), but no actual sobs. That whole TV thing kinda gave me inspiration, sorta…a little bit. After the stomping and screaming settled down and she was sitting there (supposedly) ready for me to help her… (she’d tried to “that’s all I’m doing, I’ll do the rest tomorrow” me…no way, kiddo. I’m fighting to keep your brother, by golly I’m fighting to keep you, too. I will not let you “get away” with squat. That includes skipping your homework because you didn’t do it when you were supposed to and now you’re tired. Tough sista!)… as she’s sitting there, she decides to throw down an obviously wrong answer in the hopes that I will “frustrate-out” and just give her the real one.

Well, instead of stopping her once I saw her start writing (I’d already told her to just sit and listen and learn before she picked up her pencil), I let her finish her written tirade. I remembered a show the kids were watching the other day. A bunch of penguins trying to save a bunch of tiki-people from a volcano. They had to try again and again and again, wasting more and more time (there were in a hurry to get back to their favorite soda) because they wouldn’t listen to the tiki-king tell them his plan. I commented to the kids at the time about how I’d seen each of them do the same thing, mostly with their schoolwork. (Hey, I can spot them teachin’ lessons a mile away sometimes, but this one was soooo in-your-face you couldn’t help but see it!)

So I let her finish. Then I calmly told her it was incorrect. She fumed and fussed and violently erased it and after a second started furiously writing again. Wrong again. Repeat. And lather, rinse, repeat again. And again. Once more just because we might be a little stubborn.

Then I reminded her of the penguins and asked her once more if she was ready to “LISTEN and learn”. She finally got it and stopped. I led her to the right answer (I will NOT just give the kids the answer, I make them come up with it because it’s their brain that is supposed to be working, not mine.) and boom. Just like that. One time. Done. Correct.

She sulked off to put her homework up and get her meds, etc muttering “It’s wrong, I know it is, and it’ll be your fault”. She brushed her teeth, and by the time she’d finished her meds she was ready to climb in bed quietly.

I walked out of the bedroom after turning their light out at 11pm. Again. But as I walked through the living room…well, I’ll be! She put the clothes AND dolls that I’d told her (pre-homework) to away without me having to remind her again (post-homework)!

WOW! I can’t even remember the last time she’s come back more than 2hr later and finished something I’d told her to do. That much time elapses from my initial directive and it’s normally a lost cause unless I remind her. I had determined not to let it slide…I was going to make her pick them up before bed regardless of the late homework, and had felt a “MAN! I totally forgot and so blew that one, wonder if I should now go pull her OUT of bed to do it?” moment which is what led me to glance over at the spot where the doll had been lying and then to the couch where the clothes were.

Totally nailed that one. Score one for the home team. Glory totally goes to God for it, though, not me, or even the kids. The Lord stepped in and gave each one of us what we needed today. Encouragement, assurance, grace, mercy. Whatever we need, the Lord provides. He’s so good! =)

Way to go kids! Love watchin’ ya grow! =)

Me = proud mama


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