Tough Love for Moms

Hey, ya’ll, I know I can be hard on you sometimes. I often tell you to put on your big girl panties and deal with whatever your kids are up to. I tell you to be the adult in the situation and keep moving forward.

But I also feel your pain in dealing with whatever situation your kiddo has plopped on your plate. When our kids make decisions we don’t agree with it hurts—sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Sometimes it hurts because we are not being emotionally mature women. Sometimes it hurts because we care deeply about our kids. Sometimes it hurts because we’ve been the brave mom for a long time and we need a break.

I was there last night. Yes, we have lots of wonderful changes happening in our family this year and I love it! But with growth comes growing pains. And this mom always has room for growth. Last night I wanted to tell God that I’m done growing for a while. But if He would answer that prayer, I would be missing out on all the wonderful things coming our way. If He would answer that prayer I would need to be sidelined from my life, because without growth my life stalls.

No matter why your mom heart is hurting today I want to give you a hug and encouragement. I want to affirm to you. . .

  • Give yourself some credit. You are trying.
  • You are doing your best.
  • Being a mom is not easy.
  • It’s not just you. This is hard.
  • Your feelings are your feelings. Yours to feel and yours to deal with.
  • Give yourself space and time to process this change/decision/season.

Now for another gentle word of tough love. No matter what you’re feeling, you can’t make it your kid’s problem. It’s your issue to deal with between you and God and maybe a trusted friend, mentor, or counselor. We must continue to be the calm, sane mom who loves and encourages her kids while giving biblical advice and maintaining healthy boundaries.

When I feel overwhelmed as a mom I take my stuff to God. I write out my thoughts to Him in a journal—just as the words come. I ask for strength, wisdom, to be the mom my girls need, for Him to help me with what I’m feeling. I don’t want to stay in this place of unsettledness. I want to peace and joy back. I want to fully live all God has for me. I can’t do that when I’m feeling any amount of self-pity.

Another thing that God has shown me to do is to let go of my expectations of how my life or my kids’ lives should go. I am not in charge. God is. When I lay down my expectations I can pick up the gift of enjoying my kids’ lives.

Often the moms who talk to me about their kids and the decisions they’ve made don’t do this. They want to hang on to their hurt and disappointment. In doing so they further alienate their kids and miss out on the good things in their kids’ lives. Often they can’t see any good because they are focused on their disappointment.

Even if you don’t alienate your kids because of your hurt, you may be one of the moms who suffer silently. This too robs you of joy and peace. It keeps you from fully being you and living the full life God has for you which includes blessing your family by being you (John 10:10).

Moms, let’s make the decision today to lean into God. Start a conversation with Him about whatever is on your heart. Keep that conversation going. Act on the little thing He shows you to do—maybe a note of encouragement to your child, meeting for coffee, letting go of your way. Get a friend, mentor, or counselor to journey with you.

I know I ended up doing what I said I wouldn’t do this time—telling you to put on your big girl panties and be the adult. But the thing is now you’ve started a conversation with God and you have somewhere to go with your emotions.

What’s at stake if we don’t? Our relationship with our kids. And I don’t want to miss a moment of the blessings of being Mom and Gramms.

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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