Learning to Breathe Again as a Parent

I spent a generous portion of my first 16 years of parenting letting my kids’ annoying traits (um..) annoy me.

Many days were filled with tension headaches and pleas to God for help — sometimes through tears after locking myself in my room. Those years were m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e. In the mornings, the thought of getting out of bed to relive another stressful day with the kids that seemed to be playing on repeat made me want to hibernate until they all grew up a bit (or a lot). Having kids with special needs and a few with strong “leadership skills” only exacerbated the situation.

Why was this so hard?

I have a big bunch of kids — yes. We were struggling with some individual behavioral issues — yes. There’s only one of me — yes. But really, did it have to be this difficult?

There had to be something that could help alleviate life as we knew it. Even though my daydreams said otherwise, I knew a nanny, running away, or a vacation wouldn’t solve anything, so I began to pray and truly seek God about it.

The answer the Lord helped me see was one I think I knew all along: I was taking my kids’ behavior personally.

I was reacting to them as if their sole mission in life was to see how annoying they could possibly be and how crazy they could make me.

It took me a decade and a half to realize it doesn’t have anything to do with me at all.

My kids are their own beings who are learning to wield their gifts, conquer their sin, and who need loving and grace-filled guidance as they do so. I’m a work in progress and so are they.

It has helped for me to detach myself from their behavior and give consequences from a place of mercy rather than annoyance or anger. That way, I’m able to keep my emotions from becoming entangled in their issue.

 

I began to respond carefully to their poor choices rather than react impulsively.

I began seeing myself as a sinner in need of grace just like them.

I began to pray for my children rather than gripe about them.

I began paying more attention to them.

I began seeing them as an important part of my day rather than an interruption to my day.

I began looking for the good they were doing and started catching them being wonderful. Because they are. 

 

As I engaged in these behaviors, I began to fall more in love with my kids and enjoy them again.

I also learned to breathe again. Holding my breath waiting for a new season to rescue me wasn’t doing any of us any favors. I needed to breathe and I needed to do it right then.

My family and my sanity were counting on it.

Here’s to all the parents struggling to keep it together when our kids fall apart. Right now I’m reaching through the screen to offer virtual fist bumps, a knowing nod, and gallons of fancy coffee.

Let’s learn to breathe in this season right where we are, no matter how messy.

Amanda Bacon
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Amanda Bacon

Amanda is the mother of eight kids through birth and adoption and has been married for eighteen years to the most helpful man on the planet. She is an encouraging voice for moms everywhere through the written and spoken word. In addition to The Masterpiece Mom blog and podcast, she also writes at AmandaBacon.com and is over the top in love with Instagram (@amanda_baconbits). Come over and say hi!
Amanda Bacon
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About Amanda Bacon

Amanda is the mother of eight kids through birth and adoption and has been married for eighteen years to the most helpful man on the planet. She is an encouraging voice for moms everywhere through the written and spoken word. In addition to The Masterpiece Mom blog and podcast, she also writes at AmandaBacon.com and is over the top in love with Instagram (@amanda_baconbits). Come over and say hi!

Comments

  1. Oh, boy, did I need this today! So much wisdom here! Some that gets right up in my face. In the best possible way! Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re so welcome! Thanks so much for reading. We all need something to get up in our face in the best way from time to time, don’t we? 🙂

  2. Thanks again Amanda for hitting it spot on. I keep reminding myself to find the joy in my kids and not be so critical as they are both different from each other and definitely different from me. This was a great reminder!

  3. God knows what we need and this is it for me right now, Amanda! We are moving across the country tomorrow after 3 months of Dad already being there. Behavior has been a challenge. So many breaks downs and explosions and tears. Thank you for letting God guide your hand in writing exactly what I needed to hear.

  4. I have been feeling like this way too often to the point where I’ve considered putting my children in public school. 🙁 thank you so much for sharing your words. I feel like this was just what I needed to hear. Bless you!

  5. (I’m currently homeschooling and there is nothing wrong with public schools. Just meant I considered it to have a break from my kids. Just felt I should clarify that 😉 )

  6. Holding my breath waiting for a new season to rescue me wasn’t doing any of us any favors. I needed to breathe and I needed to do it right then.

    Exactly why memorizing the Psalms has become my OBSESSION. Thank you for reminding me again today that I need to breathe and do it right now.

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