Q: “With 4 children ages 10, 6, 2.5 and 15 mo, the discipline and training (especially of the 10 year old, who has a propensity for argument and complaining and always seems to thinks she knows best) could seriously interfere with normal, everyday activities like supper, bedtimes, homework, etc. Am I looking at this the wrong way? Help!”
A: YES, these things could definitely– and WILL definitely– interfere with normal everyday activities.
The arguing and complaining can feel like it’s non-stop… because sometimes (often?) it is.
We’re dealing with people. People with sin in their hearts. People who need guidance and correction. People who:
- bump up against each other all day every day, and
- irritate one another, and
- expose each other’s weak places, and
- like for things to always go their way, and
- do mean things on purpose, and
- are quick to take offense when someone does something they don’t like, and
- keep making the same noise over and over, and
- think they’re always right, and
- don’t do the thing you were relying on them to do, and
- do the thing they shouldn’t do, and
- have no idea why they did what they did, and
- then to top it all off, they do all this with crummy attitudes that perpetually need correction from us.
But can I encourage you to flip this on its head?
Can you see THESE THINGS– the attitude correction, the behavioral coaching, the parenting moments– as your “normal everyday activities” and let the other things be done AROUND this?
I think it will make a huge difference in how you perceive how your days are going. THIS is why we are mothers. THIS is the stuff that matters MOST. So then if we eat frozen pizza for a night, rather than something home cooked, but we worked through big attitude issues and the 10 year old willingly did her chores and worked alongside us, that’s a WIN! Even if bedtime gets pushed back or things get swapped around.
Because the attitude/mothering WORK is the real work of life.
I do want to absolutely affirm what you’re saying: if you’re doing mothering right, it WILL overtake your life. This is why we are mothers. This is why God gives us these children. So that we can counsel them biblically, train them faithfully, observe their tendencies, and rightly prepare them for life. They were given to us so that we can wisely, lovingly raise them up.
This is why we have time.
The other stuff (daily activities like supper, homework, bedtime) is important, yes, but it comes AFTER attitude and behavioral stuff.
The other stuff can be let go for a time, while this gets shored up, but if this gets lax and carelessly done, the other stuff won’t ultimately matter a hill of beans. Supper, bedtime, and homework are all important… but if they totally get messed up for a season, because you’re fighting the hard battles of character… but you end up with a godly daughter who has a responsive attitude and a good relationship with you, wouldn’t that be worth it? Conversely, if you have a home that runs like clockwork and the homework gets done and she’s a straight-A student but she continues having this sulky, argue-back, entitled, irritable attitude toward you and your husband, will it be worth it?
Of course not!
This is why the complaining and arguing is non-stop in your home:
- because you are taking on the battles and not letting them go
- because you are faithfully doing your job as a mom
- because you are still NOTICING and CORRECTING the things that need it
- because you care enough to do what’s right.
Keep going & don’t let her go now that she’s hitting “hormones.” You can still have a pleasant, enjoyable relationship, amidst work and conflicts, even with hormones.
This is the real work of motherhood! Don’t lose heart!
You might also like:
- STRESS, YELLING, & SIN: Wanna know the one thing that had to change for me to stop yelling?
- HOW TO HANDLE TANTRUMS: A step-by-step approach to toddler shenanigans