On Tough Love and Mommy Guilt

Have you ever had one of those days when it was all you could do to show "tough love"? Oh, today was one of those days for me. Princess #1 told me her room was clean and so I trusted her that it was up to par. Shame on me for not checking, I guess, but at the time Princess #3 had "issues" and had to be promptly put into the bath! I was a little preoccupied, to say the least.

Later, when I opened the door to P#1's room, I was astonished.  Shoes here and there, Polly Pocket clothes all over the floor, stray pieces of paper, clothes not in the hamper...certainly not clean by most people's standards. So I called her back and I must say, I did not have the most pleasant tone in my voice was pretty upset as I told her, "This is not clean!!! You need to stay in your room until it's completely finished."

Did I tell you how much I admire the way Michelle Duggar quietly disciplines her children?

I was not Michelle Duggar today.

My poor child cried big ole crocodile tears. She said, "It's too hard! I can't do it, Mommy!" (This, from my child who miraculously cleans her room perfectly without being asked at times!) I even stood outside her door and heard her say, "This is just the worst day ever!!! I wish my Grandma and Papa or my Nanny and Papa were here."

And down they came....those iron-clad shackles known as "Mommy Guilt" squeezed around me hard. I mean really hard. All I could think of in that moment was this..."I'm forcing my perfectionist tendencies on my sweet child. Why can't I just let it go this time? I'm causing her to have "the worst day ever", for goodness sake! I really am a terrible mom sometimes." (Wow, I don't have a clue where her "drama queen" tendencies come from. Ahem, let me clear my throat before I proceed.)

As I fought back my own tears (it was just one of those days), I prayed under my breath for God to help me. I needed Him to show me when to give grace and when to stand my ground. Isn't that SUCH a hard balance as a mom?!?! I didn't read that part of the manual.

In a few minutes, after she had calmed down and I had calmed down, I reentered the room. She was working, but very slowly and with a frown on her face. Suddenly, thank the precious Lord, I knew what to do. I sat down with her in the floor and said, "This is what mommy would do." Then, I proceeded to show her the exact steps I would take to get the room finished.

It was like the heaven's parted and the sun had finally broken through.

Not too long after that, out she popped, "all done"! Then my very happy girl went outside to play with her little sister, and I, checking the room, thanked the Lord for entering into my day in the most simple and profound way.

Hmmmm, what is that quote?

"Tell me and I will forget. 
Show me and I will remember. 
Teach me and I will understand."

Lord, please help me to never forget the lesson you taught me today. Help me to discern the teachable moments and promptly act on Your leading. Help me to remember what it is like to be a child...still trying to make sense of things, still wanting oh-so-much to please, but not always knowing how to accomplish what is expected. And, help me to enter into my children's world, with a willingness to guide them from the level they are at in the moment. 


*Linking up Tuesday at Time Warp Wife
*Linking up Wednesday at Women Living Well and Raising Homemakers

For His glory,