"Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction"-Thomas Jefferson

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cowboy Up

Hi to any Company Girls joining me today...too bad I can't have all of you over for coffee and treats today because I really need advice from some seasoned "mother" girlfriends. It has absolutely been one of those weeks (ok, one of those years in some regards). Every single second I have been battling it out with Reagan. Wednesday I spent some time of the phone relaying my fears to my mother in law and yesterday I spent a good portion of the evening crying on my husband's shoulder.

To top it all off, my Great Granny passed away on Thursday morning and I'm feeling raw and emotional. I want to go home to be with my family but the plane ticket for just me to fly (and leave Reagan here :( ) at the last minute is a fortune and I am so stingy about the time I do get to go home that I would rather spend it with my family when we can have some real time together--they understand, but it doesn't stop me from feeling like a heel.

And this was the week I finally thought I was going to have it all together. Funny how life just keeps socking at it you when you feel like you have it all figured out. And actually, one part of my life IS going wonderfully. My marriage for the past week has been better than it has...well, in a really really long time...years, even.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to read The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura and it was such an eye opener. I promptly changed my attitude and actions towards my husband and it was amazing to see how immediately and effectively it turned around his responses towards me.

So it absolutely took me by surprise this evening, when putting Reagan to bed, that I had an epiphany--and it really shouldn't have...taken me by surprise, that is. I realized that if I wanted Reagan to react differently...no whining, no temper tantrums, less anger...it was going to require ME changing my attitude towards her first. After all, she was only displaying the very emotions I had been displaying towards her....she barely smiles at me anymore because *I AM* always frowning at her! I've been so busy doing all the mom/wife/house things that I had forgotten my primary responsiblity---to love her and enjoy her.

It is absolutely a life changing realization to come to the understanding that *MY* emotions control the emotion of the household. If I want my child and husband to be understanding, loving and happy---***I*** must be that way first.

I told my husband this and he agreed with me on all points. The only thing left to do is take action...and Cowboy Up as he puts it.

Which brings me to needing some 'motherly' advice....when it gets all too much, how do you continue to be a loving mother and step away from displaying (and feeling) all those fustrations? I would love to hear some advice from those of you who have gone through the fustrations of raising a preschooler--especially a high needs, emotionally charged, independent and a little too intelligent one...because I want so much to be that Proverbs 31 wife and mom "her children rise up and call her blessed."


  1. Hi. I'm so sorry to hear about your Granny. My heart goes out to you. I too had to change my attitude working with a difficult child. One of the things that I did was to remind myself, often and in the midst of the conflict, what I wanted to achieve. How can we expect something from our children when we can't control our own behavior? I needed to stop and think before I reacted. Sometimes I gave myself time outs just to collect myself. Also try to anticipate Reagan's behavior and try to deflect it by giving choices or giving her time to adjust to the next activity. Like if you are going out and she finds it hard to shift from one activity to another let her know that such and such will be happening. Study her reactions to things and try to see why she is behaving a certain way. Fear, frustration at trying something to hard, lack of control over her little life, tiredness etc. I know that this is getting long but hope some of it helps.

  2. I think you already know the most important thing--letting her know you love her by your actions (because it is so obvious that you do!) Remember to laugh and have fun with her, but be consistent (not angry) when you need to discipline. Be sure she knows your expectations. Be sure you know them, yourself. Read Barbara Coloroso's Kids Are Worth It!--full of wisdom about having a backbone but not being a brick wall. Also, check out John Rosemond.

    I do speak from a little experience...I have two wonderful teenagers...and a permanent furrow between my eyebrows (from when they were little):)

    Have a great weekend!
    Jamie (still enjoying every minute...well, ALMOST every minute...)
    www.cozyyourhome.com from Home Sanctuary's coffee

  3. What a great, honest post you have here! I have five kids, and there are moments when I struggle with some of the same things that you talked about here. We really do set the mood for our homes.

    This week Rachel suggested that we use kind words for one of the small things. In my mind, that is no small thing. Kind words and a loving attitude are things that have to be worked at. But if we think about the love that God has for us, even in all that we have done and will do, then we will be motivated to love our children in the same way.

    There are lots of things you can do to promote a positive attitude in your home. One of the biggest things that has helped me is to be sure I am taking care of myself. I just read a book by Lisa Welchel called "Taking Care of the Me in Mommy." She has lots of helpful suggestions and her chapters are short and easy to read.

    Most of all, just be in the Word and pray. God grants us the gift of children, and He will also grant us the grace to raise them as long as we look to Him for wisdom.

    Blessings to you, young momma! :) Hang in there!


  4. So sorry to hear about your Great Granny. Yes, you are grieving, and kids sense these emotions. My kids just finished the preschool years (5 & 6). I had two in diapers for the longest time. Two books that helped me: Sheparding a Child's Heart (Dr. Trent) and Strong Willed Child (Dr. Dobson). What woke me up about my higher purpose is when I read that my children's first view of God is molded by how they view me and my husband. So I paid lots of attention to how God fathered (and mothered) Israel and how Jesus also acted. And I prayed and cried into my pillow often.

    Knowing to only spank to overcome willful defiance helped me alot. Because the other times my kids made mistakes, we just handled it together. I always tried to take a step back, literally, when I felt myself get angry so I wouldn't spank out of anger. Plus, I had to remember to take them outside everyday. And hangout with girlfriends. You can also join MOPS (mothers of Preschoolers) for much needed fellowship.

    But in all things... remember that God made you the perfect mother for your child. And He picked her to be the perfect daughter for you. Not perfect in the hunkydory sort of way. Rather, take a breath knowing that He has equipped you to raised this particular child. And you'll get through it!

    I'll be praying for you!

  5. I'm so sorry to hear that you've been going through such a rough time. While not a mother, I did raise my brother and sister while my parents worked. And my sister had, and still has to a degree, issues with controlling her temper. She was (and is) a challenge. Stubborn as the day is long! Eventually I had to let her think she was getting her way at times just to diffuse the situation. But children do follow our lead - our moods, our expressions, our tone of voice. It was very insightful of you to pick up on that! It's obvious that you're a loving and committed mother.

  6. So sorry you're having such a hard time. One of the largest changes I had to make was not taking the child's behavior personally. Sometimes I reacted based on how the behavior was affecting me or making me look. When I stepped away from my own pride long enough to see things through the child's eyes I made a lot of headway. I was able to deal with the bad behavior as a discipline or character issue, not as a personal attack.

  7. I'm right there with you with a very high-strung, high-activity 3-yr-old, and I certainly haven't figured this out for myself completely yet, but one thing I was told at a seminar once was that the things that get your children in trouble are actually their strengths, not their weaknesses. So as parents, we need to find a way to redeem that strength rather than a) considering it a weakness, and b) trying to discipline it out of them.

    Still not quite sure how to implement that in daily life, but it definitely changes your perspective on things.

  8. You've gotten some wonderful advice here already. So to add to it...I would say to remember to start the day with the Lord. My 4 year old is my youngest and we pray a prayer together each morning: "Good Morning God. This is Your day. I am Your child. Show me Your way."
    Also, often I will read either to myself or aloud, I Cor. 13:4-8 inserting my name... "Heather is patient, Heather is kind, etc."
    Lastly, be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself.
    I've had days, weeks (and so on) just like you've described. Saying a prayer right now for you!

  9. It sounds like you are already on the right track and these ladies have some wonderful advice for you, but might I offer a bit of a different perspective too?

    What Frugal Friend said about our view of God is molded by how we see our parents is so true. Also our view of being a "normal" person is to. Somewhere along the way in my childhood, I saw displays of emotion as being a person out of control. It has taken me 35 years to learn that displaying emotion is a God given gift. That doesn't mean that you should go over the top, but every now and again, it is ok to show your frustration and even, your anger. These emotions are our way of working through issues and if WE decide that they are "bad" and squish them down inside, so will our children, and then when they experience them, they don't know how to deal or express them.

    Maybe your question should be how can I deal with frustration and anger in a positive way? A way that doesn't belittle how strongly I feel, but demonstrates to my daughter how to deal with these things in a healthy manner.

  10. Your post was so wonderful...very real. I have had seasons where I related to those tough times. It's easy to continue on with being negative, but I am working hard to make my words and attitudes loving, kind, forgiving, and sweet to my kids. They are older now (16-21), and I try to regularly leave them letters telling them specific ways they are special in our family. I also think carefully about each situation and give consideration to what will the situation matter in 1 hour? 1 month? 10 years? Don't sweat the small stuff. Teach love and respect and leave plenty of room for childishness.

    I'm so sorry about your great grandmother. Praying your family is comforted by many memories of her.

  11. My goodness....so many ladies giving wonderful advice...I will admit to taking some of it myself with the problems we're having with our 16 yr old right now....I will tell you something that came out in our counselling this week and it probably falls in line to some of the advice...I was saying that I couldn't ask any questions w/o her answering in a disrespectful voice...it turns out that she felt #1 that I was just trying to find out something to discipline her for and #2...she assumed this because when she did give a response I never commented with any encouraging remarks...I was surprised but realized that she was correct..here I thot I was doing my part in trying to show an interest but when I didn't offer any positive comments to what she was saying then she just drew her own conclusions...which were incorrect but nevertheless, how she perceived it...something small but it did open my eyes!

  12. So sorry about your Great Granny!

    You have already been given tons of great advice so I'll just give it a second! I think often times, we get so frustrated that everything we say and do seems negative. I would just encourage you to season the things you say with positive comments along the way. Look for things to praise them for even if it is just something little like picking up one toy without being told. Don't focus on the twenty that are still out...sometimes that positive reinforcement will make the child do a whole lot more a whold lot easier.

    I read a book awhile back called "The Power Of a Positive Mom." It really focused on how we can make a difference if we are deliberately positive and encouraging. Hope things get better!

  13. Just wanted to chime in with one more thing: sometimes a "mommy break" can be just the thing for me to be able deal with my 5 yo and 19 mo. A few hours away doing something for me...going to the craft store or book store, maybe getting a pedicure or anything else that is for me and not the whole family...can bring me back home feeling refreshed and I am able to be far more patient, loving, and kind to my husband and children.

  14. I have weeks like that too!

    I'm sorry about your Grandma and that you can't be there. That is rough.

    I have a three year old right now--and they are definitely challenging little people. Know though, that you are the perfect mama for her and she WILL turn a corner.

    I can pinpoint it to the day when my now 5 yr old finally realized after 3 years of consistent discipline that I was in charge. I'm still waiting for the 3 yo to have that moment of wisdom! :-)


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