Good Morning Intentions

I start the day with good intentions. The alarm goes off. I resist the urge to hit the snooze, roll out of bed and brush my teeth while half-awake. I pray, “Lord, please let me be a calm, loving, peaceful wife and mom today. I don’t want to be one of those nagging, critical moms.”

What Actually Happens

Forget getting through the day until bedtime without nagging. I don’t make it through breakfast.

“What do you mean you need me to sign this now? You know the rule. I only look at school papers at night. You need to get more organized.”

“Stop fighting with your brother over the amount of breakfast cereal in your bowl. Do we really have to have this conversation every single morning? One of you sit in the dining room and the other in the kitchen. GO. NOW.”

“Get a towel and clean up the milk you spilled. No I’m not going to do it. You are a big boy <insert all 3 names here>. For heaven’s sake do it yourself.”

“I really think you should go change out of those pants. There is more hole than material. People will think we cannot afford to clothe you. Which is close to true but not quite. And I’m saying this out of love; how many days has it been since you took a shower?”

“You have a meeting tonight? I don’t have it on my calendar. No, I didn’t get your email about it. I always check my email, and I’m sure I would have written it on my calendar. I thought you were driving the kids to their appointment. I was planning to go to a class at the gym tonight.”

{Sigh} count from Mom: 9.

Time on the clock: 7:45AM.

Ah, crum.

Why Am I So Critical?

Of course my children need my disciple and counsel, and my husband needs clear communication from me. Yet my family doesn’t need a continual stream of criticism, negativity, and correction.

Why do the words at times come out so quickly as if they are in space before I know what has happened?

I see my kids’ shoulders slump, their eyes turned down from my harsh words, and I want to reel the thoughts back in, reaching out and grabbing them back.

Why are we critical of our closest family members?

  1. We have helpful intentions. I do believe I often have helpful intentions. I see the potential in my kids and want them to live up to it. I want our family to function successfully, and I strive to establish structure and boundaries. The problem is, a constant stream of criticism damages relationships severely. Even more important, it just plain doesn’t work. If there is one thing I’ve learned from my personal weight loss journey, it’s that I couldn’t beat myself up or guilt my way into losing weight. Compassion and forgiveness were the keys to change.
  2. We believe our kids’ and husbands’ behaviors are proof of how we are doing. Our society constantly holds up childrens’ behavior to the parents’ skills for child-rearing. I read it on social media often — words like, “Those bullies. Obviously it’s the parents who didn’t do a good job of teaching them moral standards. The parents should be held accountable.” This type of sweeping generality leads to false thinking. It’s simply not always true. I’ve seen amazing parents who have children who make really poor decisions, and vise versa. It’s no wonder many of us worry we will be judged by the way our children or spouse behave.

I’m learning it’s very important I separate myself from my husband and children in this regard. My immediate family members are not extensions of me. If I view them as my extensions or proof of my abilities as a wife and mom, I’ll be continually trying to control my husband’s and kids’ behavior. I don’t need to spell out for you why attempting to control my husband’s and kids’ behavior leads us all to no kind of good.

If I view my husband and children as extensions of me or proof of my abilities as a wife and mom, I’ll be continually trying to control my husband’s and kids’ behavior.

3. We are tired. I’m just tired, friends. I’m human and need some grace. This mom stuff is so hard. This wife stuff is hard. I love my family to the moon and back but we live together all.the.time. We work together all.the.time. I do Let’s agree to cut ourselves some universally huge slack. Someday my kids are going to be parents, and they are going to be great ones — not perfect ones but great ones. I really hope they don’t expect perfection of themselves. I don’t want them to look to me as an example and say, “Oh, moms have to be perfect. My mom always did everything and acted like she had it all together. I guess that’s the standard I have to live up to.” Phhhpht. Life’s too short for that nonsense.

control husband kids

Are  you critical of your closest family members? How do you want to make changes?

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