We have all had them. Grumpy mornings when we wish we were still under the covers. Grumpy mornings when everything seems to be going wrong.
I used to have grumpy mornings on a regular basis, when I was rudely awakened way too early with the knowledge that I had a very long day of caring for little people ahead of me.
In recent years, however, I felt more confident, more capable. With the help of my older children, I was able to face each morning with a level head and even some joy. I became too confident and let my two most helpful children (Areli and Cadin) volunteer to help with Kidz Kamp at our church. They were gone early in the morning, my husband was at work, and that left me…alone…with a three month baby, a loud and demanding two year old, a special needs girl who acts like a quirky three year old, three wild and crazy boys, and a teenager asleep in his bed. This teenager who used to be an early riser and the instigator of most of my grumpy mommy mornings, now seemed to be able to sleep indefinitely.
I tried to take care of the needs of the younger children while enlisting the wild boys to help me prepare breakfast. The younger children were all uncooperative and whiney, and the wild boys were…wild! They seemed to ignore all that I said to them. Instead of helping, they were tearing around the house creating messes and conflicts.
Before I knew it, I was in the midst of a Grumpy Mommy morning unlike I had experienced in years! I ended up yelling and fuming, ranting and raving. I didn’t understand why my children didn’t understand…I was doing all of this for them. The diapering and nursing and dressing and cleaning and cooking! All of this effort was for them! Why couldn’t they help me just a little bit?
Later in the day I had the peace and quiet to think. Why did I have such a horrible morning? Was it really my children? Were they really so awful?
Or was it my attitude? If I was really doing everything I did to serve them, why was I so angry with them?
I realized that the work I was doing and getting stressed out about was not really for them. They didn’t really care if their faces were clean or that their clothes matched or that they had a super healthy breakfast. I was doing all of those things to make myself feel better. I was doing everything I thought a good mother should do, trying to get it all done so that I could feel accomplished and satisfied with my mothering. Then I could get on to the things that I really wanted to do.
I was angry because their childish behavior was interfering with MY plans. They were messing up MY schedule. I hadn’t thought about the emotions or thoughts of each child that morning. Maybe one child had woken up with a scary dream. Maybe another child was so excited about Kidz Kamp that he couldn’t calm down. Maybe the other child was so nervous about Kidz Kamp that he was trying to forget his worries. Perhaps another child was feeling overlooked and was just trying to get my attention. I hadn’t even considered what was going on in their hearts.
I stopped to contemplate what each one of them might want most in the morning upon waking. I concluded that their deepest heart’s desire, even if they couldn’t articulate it, would be to have a mommy who would greet them with joy. A mommy who would listen and not just give orders. A mommy who speaks kind words instead of yelling.
How could I possibly be that kind of mommy? How could I even begin to meet each child’s unexpressed needs each morning?
All I could come up with was the fact that I definitely could not. Only if I was abiding in Christ and had His love and thoughts towards my children could I be that kind of mommy.
How could abide in Christ when I got woken up before I could have a quiet time? How could my mind be full of His thoughts when I couldn’t crack my Bible to read a single scripture? How could I have His love for my children when I hadn’t even stopped to notice His love for me?
This has become the question that I MUST HAVE an answer to.
“LORD, just how do I seek you in the midst of this life that you have given me?”
I am not totally sure how to get time by myself on a daily basis. I am not sure how to meet with other Christians and get to church meetings more often for encouragement. But here is what I have come up with so far.
Whenever grumpy thoughts start to invade my mind, I make a huge effort to replace them with a thankful thought and find something to praise God for.
I write scriptures on notecards and post them on my bathroom mirror. Whenever I see them, I read them and memorize them. As I read them, I feel hope returning to my soul. I try to meditate on them throughout the day.
I recite memorized scriptures while I am nursing. I used to be able to read the Bible or other encouraging books while I nursed but now Annalise nurses too fast and is too active for that. As I speak the truth out loud, I feel my heart taking courage.
I listen for His voice in the midst of the noise. Sometimes I hear it in the voice of my six year old. Sometimes I hear it in my baby’s cries.
Instead of begging Him to help me through this crazy day, I THANK Him for the help He most certainly IS giving me and WILL give me.
I listen to worship music while I am preparing meals and sing along. I am caught up in His goodness as I chop vegetables. I smile when my children tell me that I should have been a singer, and I try to be loving when they interrupt me for some silly reason.
I listen to the Bible on CD while I am driving. It transforms the time I spend running errands into an encounter with truth and love. I have noticed things about Jesus and the Bible I have never noticed before. I have cried and repented and praised Him for His mercy while running to the grocery store.
When I get the chance, usually on a Saturday or Sunday morning, I write down what He has been speaking to me throughout the week. Then I read my journal over and over again while I eat breakfast the next week. I am reminded of the earth-shaking revelations that have so easily slipped my mind.
I fall asleep recounting all the good things God did for me throughout the day. I surrender all that I am, and all that I am not. I rest in the arms of Jesus until some little person needs me.
Being a good mom is not made up of things that I do or the schedule that I keep, but who I am. Only an active, growing relationship with Jesus will make me like Him and banish the Grumpy Mommy Mornings. So let us all seek Him, no matter what.