Not long ago, I decided I was done yelling at my kids. Ten minutes after I decided to give up yelling, someone dumped a whole box of cereal on the kitchen floor in an attempt to pick out the marshmallows. If you can relate—if you want to learn how to stop yelling at your kids and be a good mom but feel like you’re failing—you’re in the right place.
Most of us want to parent with love and gentleness, but it’s so much easier said than done.
Ask me how I know.
I’ll never forget the day my sweet daughter offered me a powerful example of what to do when I feel like yelling. Her words are changing me and challenging me. Here’s how it all went down:
How to Be a Good Mom with a Simple Mindset-Shift
I’m pounding out words on the computer when sweet Bekah bounces off the school bus. She careens through the door and makes a bee-line straight for the bathroom.
“Oh, sweet boy,” she giggles from the bathroom in the hallway. I wonder what toy or note she found from her little brother in the bathroom.
Five minutes later, she prances into the living room, and I ask what led to the remark.
“Caleb left his potty seat on the toilet and the stool pushed right up to the toilet. He closed the big toilet seat like that’s how the bathroom’s supposed to look,” she explains.
That’s it? I wonder. She saw the mess her little brother left and responded with joy?
I sit in silence and consider the lesson I might learn from my child. How would my life be different if I loosened up? I am quick to snap in anger when life doesn’t go my way. I tend to grumble over the messes my family leaves for me.
How would my life be different if I didn’t get worked up over the driver who cuts me off in traffic, long lines at the grocery store, and messes from my kids?
I imagine I’d step into a life with less grit and more grace. The life I crave.
A Shift to Help You Learn How to Respond Gently
Maybe it’s time we stop taking ourselves so seriously.
Perhaps it’s time we stop grumbling about the messes other people leave for us and the interruptions to our schedules. Maybe we should learn to say, “Oh, sweet boy,” a little more often.
Grace is letting go of my desire for control and learning to find a reason to give thanks when life isn’t perfect.
Friend, you don’t need to be a perfect mom to be a good mom. You just need to learn to extend grace to yourself and to others. Let’s look at four more ways to extend grace today:
1. Choose Appreciation Over Annoyance
When someone in your life leaves a mess for you to clean up, respond with, “Oh, sweet_____(insert name).” Give thanks for their presence in your life instead of grumbling over the additional work they sometimes create.
2. Don’t Keep a Record of Wrongs
Don’t keep score. Resist the urge to make lists in your head. Don’t list the hours you put into cleaning your house and compare it to the hours your husband spends pursuing his hobbies. Resist the urge to feel sorry for yourself or grumble. The work God sets before you is his holy calling for your life.
3. Remember the One Who Sees It All
We all feel unappreciated sometimes. Remind yourself no act of service goes unseen by God. Your reward awaits you. Resist the temptation to grumble or become bitter.
4. Stay Close to the Grace You Have Received
Learn to extend grace to those who overlook your efforts. They might be blinded by something that’s eating them alive. Be the kind of person who extends grace to others.
A while back, a friend told me about a story she recently read in a book. A man was irritated as he made his way home on the subway. The tired father sitting across from him was unable to control his unruly children, and the kids were bouncing off the walls.
Just as the man was about to say something to the father, who was exerting no control over his children, the father looked him in the eye and thanked him for his grace. The family was on their way home from their mother’s funeral. The forlorn father had no emotional energy to contain his children. The sweet little ones were emotionally regulating with a much-needed energy release.
We often don’t know what’s going on in the lives of those who offend us or just plain drive us crazy. What if, instead of being angry, we extended grace?
Lastly, let’s remember to extend grace to ourselves. Even the best moms make mistakes. Good moms yell at their kids. You don’t have to be perfect to be a good mom. God’s grace is enough to make up for everything we lack.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Stacey Pardoe
Featured Image by Kristin Brown on Unsplash
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