God’s timing has a funny quality to it, doesn’t it? It’s always right.
This past week wasn’t a very good one, I’m afraid. A few nights I got very little sleep, and I became a grumpy Mama bear. Except that, instead of protecting my cubs like a good Mama bear does, I lashed out that them.
So when I started working on this week’s Gentleness Challenge post, which was led by Courtney at WomenLivingWell.org, and saw that this week’s post was about anger management…well, obviously God was trying to tell me a little something that I don’t like to admit.
If I’m not very careful, I can easily become very ugly at my kids.
The original Gentleness Challenge post for this week lists several reasons why we get angry at our kids. I’ll share the ones I struggle with the most.
1. Expecting too much of our kids
I’ve said before, I think, that I have a hard time remembering how little my kids really are. Because my kids are so close together in age, I tend to forget that my “big kids” are still really very little, themselves! So I know I tend to expect too much from them, and then when they don’t measure up to me unrealistic expectations, I get angry.
After all, how often do I do something that I know I’m not supposed to? God is training me to behave, and 26 years later I still mess up on the same things, over and over. So why am I so hard on my tiny little children, who have only been around for 2 and 4 years?
This one is huge for me lately, because Josiah is a very short sleeper. He’s 10 months old, and I could count the number of times he’s slept more than 5 hours straight on one hand. The number of times he’s slept more than 3 hours straight at night? Probably a dozen or so times. I’ve learned that there is a big difference between being tired all the time because you’re busy, and being chronically sleep-deprived. Nevertheless, I still need to be in control of my actions. Josiah doesn’t wake up a lot at night on purpose. And it’s definitely not Tobi and Annie’s fault that Mommy is tired.
I think maybe one of the reasons that being exhausted affects my mood so much is because it gives Satan a huge foothold. Before bed and each time I wake up with Josiah, I pray over him that he’ll sleep the rest of the night well. And almost every time, he wakes up again either before I’ve finished praying, or within a half hour. And it makes me angry. Why can’t God just let me get some sleep? But God isn’t trying to make me angry, and I definitely shouldn’t take it out on my kids.
This also leads me to remember that I’m not entitled to a good night’s sleep. Yes, it would be nice. But a lot of people have managed with a lot less sleep, and one day this season too shall pass.
3. Bitterness in Marriage
This one is a maybe the hardest to talk about. Louis and I don’t have a perfect marriage. Sometimes, in fact, it seems like we struggle more than any of our friends. Louis and I each came into our marriage with baggage, and our baggage seems to clash, making working through it twice as hard.
I grew up in a very passive home. My dad doesn’t like conflict, and I didn’t see a marriage at work growing up. On top of that, I’m a huge people pleaser. I absolutely hate disappointing people or causing conflict. So usually, if Louis does something that irks me, I don’t bring it up because it’s “not worth starting a fight over.” But when I let these things build up, my fuse gets shorter and shorter and I end up taking it out on the kids. Why? Maybe because it’s easier to ask forgiveness from a 2 year old than to have to hash it out with my husband. Easier maybe, but definitely less effective since nothing ever gets solved that way.
Fools give full vent to their rage,
but the wise bring calm in the end.
Proverbs 29:11 NIV
Did you miss the 1st two weeks of the Gentleness Challenge? Find them here!