Saturday, October 24

Mom the Loser

I wandered into the living room last week to inspect the blanket forts being constructed around the living room. The boys were enshrouded in blankets and had no idea I had entered the room. Though I couldn't see them, I could hear them. I walked in to hear ".....Tell me about it! Ugh! And how about that rule: no computer time until your room is clean....have you seen her room?"
The discussion continued and my list of failures grew. The fried apples I had been snacking on suddenly felt very heavy and tasted very bland. If something can ruin apples fried in butter with brown sugar and know it is bad indeed.

I worked around the nausea and asked the boys to come out for a chat. I'm not sure that I handled it well, but I was at a loss. I assured them they were not in trouble and that there is no sin in recognizing something unjust. I spoke to them about the necessity of taking grudges to the offender and not just speaking to other people. But I acknowledged the need sometimes to discuss and work through a problem with a trusted friend. I let them know I was glad they had chosen each other as confidantes and then explained the difference between encouraging your confidante to work through a problem biblically and the tendency to vent and plant seeds of bitterness.

But speaking to MOM about her faults? How does one go about that?

Once upon a time, we gave the boys notebooks to write notes to us for when uncomfortable topics came up. They were to leave the notebooks under my pillow to avoid making eye contact. It was a rarely used system through the years, but I suggested we resurrect it. I told the boys it sounded like they had some valid complaints that I would appreciate it if they could share a list for me.

That night, I received my list. They don't like the new dishwasher rule and they feel my computer rule is "hipacritical". Ethan wrote "I thought the rule was 'work first, play second' but you play on facebook before your chores are finished." Joel ended the list with "And please don't correct my spelling!"

These boys of mine don't have a sassy bone in their bodies. This was difficult for them. I've used kid gloves repenting and still discussing respect and appreciation. It hurt me like a knife, having that mirror held up in front of me but we're trying to make it a life lesson for all of us.

So now it's crackdown on habits week at my house and it's a terrible time for depression to try sneaking in. It's a rare thing, but every now and then it tries knocking on my door. I've learned a few tricks though:
#1 Know your enemy. Those little lies in my ears aren't from me. I may not feel to highly about myself right now but that little voice I'm hearing flat out hates me. It's not mine and it's not God's and I have no business listening to it. It's not welcome here.
#2. Moving targets are hard to hit. My first sign is generally a desire to sleep. It's not strange for me to be tired, but when I feel myself just wishing that I could go to sleep and not get up or not have to face anything, I know it's depression fitting me for lead boots. I make myself move. Motion begets motion. Last night, I invited people over. It forced me to finish those projects I had sitting out and made it impossible for me to wallow. Yesterday, I cancelled school and announced a fall drive.
#3. Garbage in, Garbage out. This is not the time for me to be reading emotional books, watching emotional movies, or gorging myself on cinnamon rolls. I'm impressionable and easily distracted. It would be inviting trouble. I also have to be careful to not sit and talk about it. I have a tendency to "dwell" and this isn't something that needs examined in the way us girlfriends are so good at doing, it's something that needs nipped. However, good stuff in equals good stuff out, so I know from experience that this is the time to surround myself with praise music and scripture. God's word is unfailing....even when I don't feel like it.

So I am valiantly working to not be Miss Grumpy McGrumpy-Buns while stepping back and re-evaluating my habits and methods. I need an occasional kick in the pants, but for the most part, it's coming together bit by bit and this new twist is just adding to the adventure.


Mel said...

You are definitely NOT a loser mom....
It's like I was telling Dan today....what is normal? Does anyone really know what normal is? I mean, everyone has their quirks. It's just realizing and working through them that really matters....does that even make sense? Hang in there. I can totally empathize with that depression/want to sleep feeling. I think I'm having that feeling right now. Play that praise music loud, get the broom out and dance if you have to, but just hang in there.:) Love ya.

Andrea said...

You're not a loser mom.

Our kids are at the age where they definately have opinions and are not afraid to express them.

Yeah, Moms play on Facebook before their chores are done. Moms have a lot of responsibility and need a little outlet every now and then.

I had the same problem - a messy room. Yet we want the kids to keep their rooms clean. Kind of not fair. Ok, a lot not fair. I cleaned my room so I could get new paint.

Every family has their own set of rules and the things that work (and don't work). It's nice to be able to have a family pow-wow and adjust the rules as needed. :)

wedogmomma said...

Can I just say that I was teary-eyed as I was reading this because I see So much grace in the way you worked through this.....
And I certainly saw reflections of me. I totally winced as I imagined the same.exact.scenario playing out in our home....

But I doubt I would have acted with as much wisdom. The blame was stopped and it seemed handled with such tact! I don't know if I would have even thought about reassuring our boys....I probably would have dwelled on my own injury longer.....What gifts you are giving them.

Just remember that these kids see us through glossy eyes....all rosy or all wrong depending on the situation...but ALL human. And that is a gift....because no one can be perfect. And you are showing them the real and true. That type of example is tough to walk away from. You are walking the walk. As painful as it may be. The truth of this example will replay in their hearts as they question their own faith.
I'm thanking God for you and your example.
And in these prayers there is NOTHING to be depressed about :)
Press on......there's no room for lies here. May your home be filled with truth this week!

Jenni said...

Wow, you're so much more of a grown up than I am. I don't think I would have handled it as well. In fact, I think I likely would have moped in my room with a book and my coffee for at least half the day feeling underappreciated. Of course your way of handling it was the right way. I'm glad you shared this and that you're taking steps to correct things and be an example to your kids (and other, bigger children out here). Thank you for admitting your tendencies while you are taking those steps, too, and letting us see how you fight them. Some of it sounds far too familiar. I think I may need to take some steps of my own.

Ginger@chirgies said...

Oh Jenn!!! I don't know if you're a touchy feely type, but I'd give you a BIG hug right now if I could. It sounds like you handled that situation beautifully. You are NOT a lose Mom! I think one of the best things we can be/do with our kids is be authentic. Tell them we're not perfect, and that it's a PROCESS, this whole becoming like Jesus thing. We ALL need to work on it. I have been convicted SO MANY times of the same thing. I push my kids to do things, or get upset with them for xyz, when I find those are the same things I struggle with too! I finally started making my bed out of guilt because I was all over the girl's case about making their's when mine was a mess!

Play that Seeds music and go to bed at a decent hour. When I'm sleep-deprived from staying up to late, the depression can realy hit me upside the head.

Big, big hugs to you!

Jennie C. said...

I scolded the kids this morning for reading instead of doing their chores before breakfast. Breakfast was late today. I knitted when I should have been cooking.

Aunt Connie said...

Jennifer, you are amazing! Can't tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I feel like I know your family even though I never met your 2 youngest...I look at their pics and think of how much they look like you and Misty... or the Jennifer and Misty I used to know. What a great mom you are.....LIFE IS GOOD! not always fair....Criticism is hard to take...but sometimes the hardest to take from your kids,however someday they will look back on rules they didn't like and they will understand... and laugh...and talk about what a great mom you are...Still love you...Aunt Connie

Jenn in Mo said...

Aunt Connie!!!!!!!!!!! Wow, I miss you! Thank you for the good advice and reassurance. I would love to stay in touch with you, and I'm not the only one! chrisjenn@ if you get the chance.

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