Happy Mother’s Day weekend, y’all!
I have approximately 2, 481 draft Mother’s Day posts written but I can’t manage to finish a single one of them. Truth is, Mother’s Day is still hard for me. One day, God will redeem it. I trust that. But for now, when I can’t seem to find the words, I have to admit the wounds are too raw and move on.
Instead, I write about the girl who filled my empty arms and calls me Momma. She’s pretty awesome.
So Mommas, Mothers-in-Waiting, Motherless Mommas, Foster Mommas, Spiritual Mommas, all women who mother in a million little and big ways, happiest of Mother’s Days to each of you! Even if you don’t feel like you should be or can be or even ever will be celebrated, I say YOU ARE WORTHY and I stand in awe of each of you!
Pumpkin has been struggling lately.
With her mouth.
Y’all. I never knew a child could be as sassy as mine. Bossy and sassy.
I went to the bathroom the other night to ask Skillet if he was done bathing. I mean, I could tell from his dry body and dry hair, no, he had not even gotten wet from his waist up. Much less washed.
But I asked him the question anyway.
Does this make me a glutton for punishment? Is this some hardwired thing all mothers everywhere since the dawn of time have done? Ask a question we already know the answer to? For what purpose? To see if our offspring will lie?
I DON’T UNDERSTAND.
But we do it.
“Dude, are you done getting washed?”
And almost before I could get the question out of my mouth, Pumpkin answers on his behalf.
“Child. Are you Dude? No, you are not. I do not need you to answer my questions for your brother.”
Meanwhile, Skillet might have recognized I asked him a question but since Sister answered for him, he promptly returned to playing. With zero washing taking place.
And this, y’all. Her answering of this question was my literal last measure of patience.
I took her into the kitchen, got down eye ball to eye ball, and we had a DISCUSSION.
Y’all. This is how she works. I was not yelling or being cruel or even speaking words of shame and condemnation. I was simply honestly asking her what I could do to help her fully grasp how so very much SHE IS NOT IN CHARGE.
But she cries.
So I talked with Dr. Band later that night and we agreed, we had to start punishing her. Correcting only was wasted energy at this point.
We do our best to redirect, guide our children towards asking Jesus to help us improve (because we cannot do it on our own), and, especially with her, it usually works. She is an obedient, kind, imaginative, smart kid. For her, a harsh word can crush her spirit.
But the sassiness, disrespectfulness, and general unkind attitude must end.
Here’s the deal: Pumpkin spends most of her day at school. Surrounded by 20 other kids. Kids talking and fidgetting and making her teacher need weekly supplies of Milky Ways. My daughter? Silent. Last week, her entire class moved their color from green to yellow. The Assistant Principal came to their room to speak with them about her disappointment in their behavior. The whole class’ behavior.
Except for my daughter.
She came home still on green and sporting a note from her teacher saying she was such a blessing to her.
So all day long, she is obeying and keeping quiet and getting crazy frustrated at the poor behavior of the kids around her. If the kids have a bad day, she has a bad day. Even though she actually has behaved beautifully. Their behavior affects her emotions.
THEREFORE, I give her a ton of grace when she gets home.
But y’all. I’ve run out of grace.
I took Pumpkin out for a Frosty and some conversation. I had her pick out a table in the corner so we could talk. Got her junior Frosty and strawberry lemonade and sat down with her. She took two bites, a sip of her drink, and flat asked me.
“So. What do you want to talk to me about?”
And all I could think was, Of course, she asked me that. OF COURSE.
We talked about her words and her tone and her disrespectful attitude. She agreed she’s been pushing it lately. I asked her what she thought was causing all this. Was she feeling more tired than normal? Was she feeling lonely? Was her brother being more little-brother-like than usual?
And her answer?
“I don’t know. Maybe satan?”
And I almost spit out my Frosty.
Listen, she’s not wrong. And because of our parenting approach, she has heard a good bit about how we cannot change our behaviors in our own strength. How we have to ask Jesus to help us by giving us His fruits, patience, love, kindness, joy, self-control.
We don’t really talk about how the enemy might get all up in our business. I don’t give him that much authority in our home.
But this girl? She puts it together. She knows who is the bad and who is the good. If she’s been acting “not good” (her words, not mine) then she must be dealing with Satan.
A few weeks ago, she stunned me with this question, “Momma, if satan changed his mind and wanted to go back to God, Jesus would forgive him right?”
“Ummmm, goodness, baby.”
“Okay, I would say yes. If satan said he was sorry, and really meant it, and asked God to take him back, God would do it.”
My daughter…”Then that’s what I’ll pray for.”
And I just sat there. Because what in the ACTUAL WORLD do I say to my daughter who has decided to pray for Satan to repent and ask forgiveness????
Who thinks of that kind of stuff????
So when she says her poor behavior is likely the fault of the enemy, she’s not wrong.
But she still has to be punished. Because at the very least, she’s stopped trying to change her behavior.
Which, by the way, she felt like her punishment should be to have TV time taken away. Only that’s really a punishment FOR ME and not her. She’d be totally fine to color or play in her room instead of watching a show.
Instead, she will spend five minutes in her room when any sassy, disrespectful, unkind words or tone come out of her mouth. Time she can spend taking some deep breaths, asking Jesus for his help, and reading the scriptures I gave her on the words of our mouth.
Thank you, Lord, for my amazing daughter. Thank you for her love of words and her vast vocabulary. Her sensitive spirit. Her spiritual sensitivity, too. I know you will use it all for the glory of Your kingdom. I pray you help me shepherd her heart, soul, and mind (and mouth) well.
(So… anyone else joining her in praying for satan’s salvation?)
(Also, anyone else picturing satan coming down the aisle at a tent revival?)
(Maybe hands held up singing “Victory in Jesus?”)