Confessions of a Momster

Child feet in sneakers on old wooden floor - with copy space

“Get in the van and buckle up!”

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. I feel it is the minimum request. After all, the effort required of my children to get anywhere is limited to this one, important task! I ask them to walk their own body out to the garage, enter the van, find their respective seats, and buckle the corresponding seat belt.

At that point, I take over. I am in charge of transporting their belted bodies to any number of places. A vast majority of our destinations seem to benefit them―either directly or indirectly. By now it should be an automatic response to the announcement that we are leaving―or so one would think. Instead, it becomes the birth place of the instant change in my mood; from the mom who has it all together and is ready to leave (on time) to the Momster who now stands in her place.

She has little patience and even fewer polite words in her arsenal.

She cannot fathom why preschoolers and first graders are so resistant to the act of belting oneself in. Her rage is not hidden and is not easily squelched. The decibels she can reach boom through the garage and down the street. Her eyes as wide as saucers and her nostrils flare like a bull with a flapping red cape flooding its vision. Like a maternal Hulk, I am set off. I am making fewer and fewer rational parenting decisions in the seconds that follow the sight of three children freely moving about the cabin.

Where does the Momster come from? How does she rise to the surface so easily? Is she a valid response to such blatant disregard for direction?

In the moment I could rationalize every action displayed by the Momster. She has every right to inflict frustration and anger on those who are ignoring her authority. I cheer her on as she conquers the Littles in her life with brute (verbal) force. I am certain in the moment that she is molding them into obedient people with each victory…

But is she?

As I step back and compare her methods to the ones used by our Heavenly Father, I am dismayed. I am pretty sure I have never heard him yell at me that way when I have ignored HIS instruction. If I really look at our methods side by side, one thing becomes crystal clear to me: Our goals are very different in this moment.

God’s goal is loyalty and an eternal covenant with his children.

He wants my heart more than my compliance.

My goal as the Momster is obedience. I am seeking compliance over anything else.

Is it easy to lose it over seemingly simple tasks? Sure. Is it right? No. And I wish I could sit and tell you that silly seatbelts were my only downfall. Truth be told, I am a yeller. I am battling a generational curse of anger and self-righteous rage. I tried to hide it and battle it in the quiet space of my prayer life for the first five years of parenting and that got me nowhere.

I am now confessing it to the great wide web because, I know I am not alone! I also know there is a better way. I have been turning this curse on its head. I have used this blunder in my life to demonstrate to my kids that adults aren’t perfect. I have apologized for my actions. **I make it clear that their actions were not appropriate, but that the way I handled it wasn’t either.** I have honest talks with my almost 7 year-old about feelings and actions and controlling the urges we have in our minds and bodies to act on however we feel. This is a big lesson in self-control. I love to show him that we have access to the power of Holy Spirit to help us in this journey. The tough part is making the choice to ask for help―and, taking his advice.

On the side of obedience, it is a great thing to want to make your child compliant. A child should obey his/her parents and be an upstanding member of society.

However, if we go about parenting with the sole pursuit of compliance and obedience, we may gain the goal and lose the soul.

We can’t be the strong hand of authority without the relationship. I would even dare say that as kids grow, we need to be hotly pursuing their heart over their obedience. As I grow in this journey of parenthood, I see the display of free will and I also see why the Father gave it to us. He wanted us to choose obedience out of the overflow of our voluntary love for him. That is the only way it really means anything.


And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

2 John 1:6


 

 

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