Tuesday, July 22, 2008


We had our upstairs bathroom cabinets painted today. Which means, due to the workmen, Eva Rose got no nap, and that is almost always the foreshadowing of doom.

5:00, midnight of the Witching Hour, we arrive home from swim lessons. I went upstairs to get something, telling her twice not to come up after me. She came up after me. I fussed at her and sent her back downstairs. Do NOT go up the stairs.

Made dinner. Fed children. Reminded her, twice, do NOT go up the stairs. Sat down for forty seconds to breathe and get a Twitter update. Heard screaming. Eva Rose's hands are both covered in paint. White, oil based paint from my newly painted bathroom cabinets which now have two handprints on them. Marred before they even had a chance to dry.

I did not handle it well. Not well at all, my friends, not well at all.

Not well at all.

Her defiance is a common theme in this house. And it wears me out. And sometimes the effects are ugly.

Later, still angry, I hold her on the kitchen floor, and she asks, why are you holding me? Because I love you, I say. Even when you don't obey.

And, I think to myself, because I feel totally guilty.

So now, hours later, I sit on the couch as she sleeps upstairs, so tired I hurt, and feeling like the worst mom ever.

I know I had a reason to be mad. But I just wish I had handled it better. And I wonder what damage I am doing to her. I wonder what she will be telling her therapist in a few years. That she never really felt like her mother loved her? That her mom was always angry at her? That she always felt like she was in trouble? Like she wasn't good enough? Like the black sheep in the family??

Walker hooks up the laptop for me and I blog bounce watch Judge Judy. My personal escapism. I come across Moriah, who blogs about how she took her eyes off her own three year old daughter for one moment at the pool, and her daughter slipped under water. She's fine, but it was a scary moment. And it probably made Moriah feel like a bad mom.

I comment to her:
Oh, thank God our babies' Father watches when we mothers drop the ball.

I read it to make sure there are no misspellings. Make sure I got the plural possessive right.

And then I listen to my own words.

My baby's Father is watching her, even when I drop the ball.

Her destiny is not in my hands. It is in His. His hands are far more powerful than my own. And they are always perfect, and always gentle, and always loving, and always full of grace.

Even towards me, His little girl, who desperately needs some grace tonight. And receives it, abundantly.

Because He loves me, even when I don't obey.


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  1. Had to de-lurk to say thanks. I needed that today.

    God Bless

  2. I've had my share of mommy guilt recently, too. When Savannah threw my phone in the bath, I lost it. It was not pretty. Yes, she disobeyed, but so did I in my reaction to her.

    So thankful for our Father and the grace He pours out. And may I in turn learn to pour out a little grace of my own.

  3. I have an Eva Rose,too.
    Check out this book: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic
    It's great for all parents and has some really good techniques whether you have an Eva Rose or not. http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Your-Spirited-Child-Perceptive/dp/0060923288

  4. Thanks for the reminder! I totally understand what you are saying and I am so thankful that I know the Lord and all of his mighty work.

  5. You are so right Missy. so right. God does not drop the ball. EVER. Just rest in that sweetie. rest in that.

  6. Thank you SO much for sharing this! Moms have so much pressure to be perfect all the time with their kids and I know I am definetly not perfect and it's nice to hear that God's grace covers our flaws,always.

  7. I needed to read this today. I have been yelling alot lately. Alot. Losing it. And I wonder the same things about the stories I'm creating for my kids - in their minds, about themselves. The good part of this whole thing is that we've been praying about it more - even though it's still rough and ugly - the kids and I pray together for each other. I love that part. :) The road to that, though, shows me exactly what I'm made of, and it is not awesome.
    Thanks for posting this. :) You're always good for a parenting reality check. :)

  8. Thanks for sharing this today. A great reminder. I am so glad that God can redeem my mistakes as a mother, and that he offers grace.

  9. Beautiful.

    Today was the first time I have felt like, ok, seriously, I cannot do this. Silas was up every two hours and Asher is cutting a tooth, but their biggest problem is their mother's attitude. Today was the perfect day to read this post. Thank you.

  10. Thank you SO much for this. I really needed it and have been going through the same thing lately. My oldest daughter (will be 3 next month) is about as strong-willed as I have ever seen and I have seen a lot. I was a preschool teacher before kiddos. Anyway, I lose it with her more than I should and it is comforting to know that our heavenly Father is MUCH more patient with us. He has also shown me that asking my children to obey is kinda like saying, "Do as I say, not as I do" meaning, am I being obedient to Him? Ouch!!! Lately, not so much.

    Thanks again!

  11. This was so very encouraging. Just last night, I almost go very upset and something very little. It was just before bed time. I had to pray while biting my tongue, but God rewarded me and I was able to give my daughter a kiss and a semi-sweet smile as I said goodnight. But, I won't lie, there was still plenty of frustration on my part as I got ready for bed. This job is exhausting. I know I'm need plenty of grace.

  12. So true and thanks for the reminder that I too am covered in grace.

  13. You mean I am not the only mama who messes up? Sigh. I am so printing this post out. Reminds me to be grateful that we have a God who loves us "even when [we] don't obey."

  14. I have sooooooooooooooo been there. This week even! And mine only involved washable finger paints.


    Your observations are so true.

  15. Missy,

    Your daughter might do well with a little bit of adultism. You told her not to do something. Did you explain in a way that she could understand why she could not go up there? I was the same way. If you told me not to do something, and did not explain it to me where I could understand, I had to go find out for myself why I could not do it. Same with your daughter. When you do or do not want her to do something, try explaining it to her in a way she can understand, and give her the consequences if she disobeys, praise her if she complies, enforce the consequences if she fails.

    More than anything, Remember YOU ARE NOT A BAD PARENT!!! YOU ARE TOTALLY NORMAL!!


  16. So yeah. TOTALLY needed that today.

    My challenging one is my 5-year-old. I feel like all I do is scream at her. And she's so precious. But she drives me CUH-razy.

    And I wonder if I'm, even now at 5-years-old, driving a wedge between us that will become a wall when she's a teenager. I SO TOTALLY DON'T WANT TO DO THAT TO HER.

    Sigh... I am thankful for a gracious God. I hope she feels his gentleness and mercy when she's not getting mine.

  17. so neeeded this today. thank you so much, my eyes are filled with tears right now.

  18. What a fantastic reminder that even when we mess up, and we're going to because that's just how it is, God catches us when we drop the ball. I love watching Jon and Kate Plus 8 on TLC, (do you watch?), and Kate said something great the other day that has stuck with me. She said something about how parents make mistakes every day. You wonder if you paid that one enough attention or didn't listen to this one, but the great thing is that you get to start all over the next day. It's true. We do the very best we can every day and that's all that you can ask. You are so full of love for you kids that it's palpable just by reading your blog, so don't you be too hard on yourself, sister! :)

  19. Discipline is tough. It is needed, but it is one of the hardest parts of parenting.
    I almost never feel good afterwards.
    I wonder if God feels that way about me when I am defiant, disobedient, strong willed..., and He allows a consequence I don't like.
    Guilt is not from God. I have to remind myself all the time. I behave much better when I accept the grace, and try again.
    So tender of you to share. Love your blog colors and all. Have a better tomorrow.

  20. I've had some serious moments like this with my son. It's hard not to beat yourself up. I know you are a great mommy!

  21. Ha Carol. You should have seen me at naptime today.

    My children have been demon-possessed lately. It's been rough playing the role of wife/mother/exorcist.

  22. Missy,

    If spanking is not working with her, quit doing it. Take things away, Tell her you don't sleep you don't swim. And make sure she understands that it is her choice to sit it out. Whatever her favorite things to have or to do are, take those away from her. Son and I were in a battle when he was in Jr High, and his room got down to a mattress on the floor and no door on his room. My daughter and son in law are doing the same thing with their son, who is 5, and his room got down to a bed and a dresser, he learned. Once you give her good night kisses and a story for bed, everytime she get up just put her back to bed, no talking to her, just put her back in the bed and walk off. Regardless of what she says or does very gently put her back in her bed.
    I am praying that God will give you strength and wisdom, and that He will guide you to things that will work with your daughter, rasing strong willed children is hard, but boy is it worth it.


  23. What a wonderful post! Thank you! It is nice to know we are not alone. I always feel so guilty when I yell at my kids. Lately with being so busy I was finding myself doing it more often than not. I just figure at almost 4 and half once to be told something should be enough but I have to step back and realize 4 and half is still a baby! Thank you for your real post!

  24. this brought tears to my eyes, it hit so close to home today. thank you for this poignant reminder of our Heavenly Father's love for us. thank you for sharing your heart.

  25. I think every mom on the planet has those sitting on the floor and swimming pool moments. I know I do. My three-year-old is incredibly defiant lately too so I feel your pain. If you ever need to chat feel free to email me. I can recall many times when my mom lost her temper with me, and yet I am just fine and our girls will be too.

  26. Amen to this! You write so well, Missy. You are a wonderful godly mother....we are all human, remember? Thanks for the blessing today!

  27. Isn't God so good to give us those little pearls when we need them. He really is our Father and doles out grace so freely.

    Its wonderful to know that ultimately these are His kids and He's got his hand on them...despite us!

    Thanks for sharing.

  28. Just to let you know, I quoted you today...

  29. Wow. Thank you for being honest and making the rest of us not feel so alone. I found your blog from "Musings of a Housewife" and love it. But this particular post touched me because I too have had those moments with my son, where I feel like God is looking down on me shaking his finger...at me! I know I am getting better, learning as I go, I am just so thankful that God never gives up on me! Have a great day!

  30. Thanks for this. I jumped over from Jo-Lynne's.

    I'm reminded of a day not too long ago where my precious 9-year old daughter pushed all my buttons to the point where I cussed at her. Seriously. I told her I was going to take her into the house and beat her ... well, you get the picture.

    I feel so totally bad about it even now. I knew things needed to change and mainly they need to change in me. So, some quiet time every morning and I'm at least not cussing at her any more :) I'm thankful that God's watching her and He'll be able to fix whatever I mess up.

  31. I just came by way of Jo-Lynne. I, too, feel like all I have been doing is yelling at my children. This post is really what I needed. Although I'm fighting back the tears because I'm weighed down heavily with mommy guilt.
    Thanks for this post. It was very well written.

  32. Loved your post. The truth that God is sovereign, even over my mistakes, and that He loves my children even more than I do is all that gets me through the day sometimes. What good news that Christ's blood covers even my sin as a mom. And especially my sin as a mom. :)



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