I used to think that my kids were just extra hard, and that’s why I would get so exacerbated with them at the end of a long, chaotic day. I mean, it’s their fault that I become a “mom-ster” sometimes. They MAKE me crazy, right? Well, not so much. Gulp.
It’s me. I am the problem. There’s this thing called “self-control” that I seem to be lacking at times…especially when it comes to my family – the people I love most. So, what is triggering this frustration that sometimes leads to an all out, mommy meltdown? Well, as a frequent flyer on the frustration plane, I have found that there are 3 main triggers that make a mom want to lose her mind. And, it’s not what you think.
As a wife and mom, I wake up every day praying that God would give me patience, love, and kindness for them. This is truly the desire of my heart. But, as the day goes on – no matter the circumstances – I often find myself worn out, disgusted with one of my kids, and annoyed about something. As I’ve talked with many other moms, they share the same struggle. So, why is it that we get so frustrated and somehow lose our joy in the midst of it all? I have found that it is usually triggered by one or more of these 3 things:
1. Unmet or Unrealistic Expectations
This is a multi-facted, rather complicated one, oh, but it’s HUGE when it comes to triggering frustration. As wives and moms, we have specific expectations for our husband, our kids, our work, our friends, our neighbors…you get the picture. But, we also have A LOT of expectations for US. Our husbands, kids, work, friends, neighbors, etc….have things they expect of us as well.
I have found that whenever my kids or my husband haven’t met my personal expectations – whether spoken or unspoken – I get super frustrated at them. Then, I get annoyed, and then, I become grouchier (and more unpleasant) as the day goes on. And, sometimes, I BREAK. And, my head spins around like the exorcist girl. You get the picture. It’s ugly.
Sometimes, we place unrealistic expectations on ourselves. We try to accomplish a crazy amount of things in an unrealistic amount of time. Or, we promise our husbands and kids that we will do something, but in our minds, we know we will never be able to keep that promise. And then, we get mad…first, at them for expecting us to do said thing (even when we promised we would do it)…and then, at ourselves for being completely unrealistic with our promise. It’s complicated and frustrating, to say the least.
Other times, we’re just flat-out angry at God, because in our hearts, we feel like He hasn’t met OUR expectations for OUR life somehow. We think things like,
“I shouldn’t be having such a difficult time with my kids.”
“Why can’t we afford that house?”
“I DESERVE a better husband…job…friends, etc.”
Whenever our expectations are unmet or unrealistic, in the first place, frustration will ensue. We must set realistic expectations for ourselves and others. And, we can’t fall apart when we or others fail.
There’s a big difference between being disappointed about failed expectations and losing it over those failed expectations. The difference-maker is SELF-CONTROL, and this fruit of the spirit can only be gained through prayer and practice.
2. Lack of Self-Care
For some reason, this trigger seems to be a bit controversial among moms. As wives and moms, we are usually caring for anything and everyone else and failing to take care of ourselves. We tend to sometimes have a martyr complex about this. This kind of thinking only leads us to more and more frustration and an unhealthy lifestyle.
I can’t tell you how many times I have reached my breaking point after having weeks of little to no sleep because I was working into the wee hours on something that could have waited until the next day. I have had too many moments where I started resenting my kids’ sweet requests for my time or attention simply because I hadn’t had a moment to myself in months. During those stressful times, I lost my temper on the ones I love most and then beat myself up about it only to have yet another night without enough sleep.
When we are arranging our schedule for our family, taking care ourselves must be an important part of it.
Things like adequate sleep, quiet time, exercise, date nights, mommy breaks, serving at church, doing a fun hobby from time to time, and coffee with friends aren’t INDULGENCES; they are simply ACTS OF SELF-CARE. And, we MUST take good care of ourselves to be at our best.
3. Living an Inauthentic Life
This trigger is sometimes hard to spot and even harder to admit. It has to do with who we are and what we stand for as a person. Our authenticity is a very personal thing, yet it manifests itself in a very public way.
As a social media-crazed culture, we are constantly looking at other people’s photos, ideas, blogs, videos, etc… We upload our own as well, and then we wait. We wait for the “likes”. We wait for the “comments”. We wait for affirmation.
But, what if it doesn’t come? What if our pic is JUST a pic…a memory…a celebration just for us and the ones closest to us? Is that enough?
If you’re like me, you love social media. I think it is a HUGE blessing. We can share memories, mingle with friends, share good/bad news, ask for prayer, pray for others, minister to others, learn about how to strengthen our relationship with God/our husband/our kids/our friends/our co-workers.
It’s awesome. Really. That’s until we start comparing our every day life circumstances (and the people in it) to the few moments of glory that others plaster all over Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Pinterest. When we fall into the comparison trap, these awesome tools change us into an insecure, immature middle school girl who is dying for someone to just notice her and tell her that she is special or that she did something great. For more on the comparison trap, check out “Why Her and Not Me?”, by clicking here.
Honestly, I have caught in that trap too many times, and it left me feeling unthankful, dissatisfied, and frustrated with the beautiful blessings that God has given me. One day, I saw the destruction it had caused inside my mind and heart. I finally decided to climb on out of that terrible pit and live my life authentically. I realized a few things in the process:
My husband and I won’t build a stronger marriage when I constantly compare him to someone else’s husband and what his wife claims he does or does not do for her in the gorgeous Facebook images they share.
My kids won’t have a better birthday memory simply because I ran myself ragged and spent way too much money creating the perfect Pinterest-worthy party.
The words that God laid on my heart to share in a blog read by 400 people are just as important as the blog read by 400,000.
That beloved photo of my husband and kids is special and beautiful and a HUGE blessed moment in my life whether 3 or 300 people liked it on Facebook.
Real life happens REGARDLESS of what we see on social media. And, there is nothing more beautiful than a God-centered life being lived authentically.
So, let’s end this madness. Let’s set realistic expectations, take care of ourselves, and live an authentic life all while embracing whatever messy…chaotic…crazy…beautiful season we are in.
Thanks for reading and sharing. Be blessed!