inspiredness TM

Copyright 2013


Temper Tantrums

(Originally written May 17, 2012)

This has become the common look in our household and not just from Gracie but from just about every member of the family (myself included).

I’m constantly asking myself what is causing these crazy, emotional outbursts. Am I doing something wrong as a mother? Am I  not paying enough attention or giving the wrong kind of attention? Is it due to exhaustion? Maybe it’s a hunger thing? Just a stage? Is it simply because the kids haven’t mastered certain communication skills? Oh, I could over analyze this subject for days, months, years.

The more I think about it, however, the more I realize that even as an adult I have “temper tantrums.” They may not be the classic throw-yourself-on-the-floor-and-scream tantrums but they are emotional outbursts of another kind. I might pout to myself, I may literally bang my head against the wall when I’ve had enough {as I did the other night}, I may be so hurt and angry that I can’t stop crying hysterically.

Toddlers typically throw tantrums in order to express fear and anger and according to Freud, tantrums may be a subconscious way of the tantrum-thrower to force a punishment on himself as a way to put his sense of guilt to rest (Sigmund Freud, Case Histories II (PFL9) p. 257-58). It’s also suggested that tantrums {at least in toddlers} are a result of a blow to the person’s inflated self-image (H. and I. Goldenberg, Family Therapy (2007) p. 172).

I think all of these postulations are valid and definitely true for me when I throw my “temper tantrums,” what about you? Do you ever feel like the world is out to get you, that things aren’t going your way and they never will? Do you ever feel embarrassed or humiliated by your failure and lack of perfectionism? Have you ever gotten caught doing something vengeful, spiteful to someone because you were hurt by that person? Do you ever wish that someone would just slap your hand for the sins that you’ve committed so you wouldn’t feel so bad about having committed them? I can probably raise my hand to all of these {and more}. These are “perfect” reasons to throw an adult-sized temper tantrum!

So go ahead…pout, scream, shout, bang your head on the wall {literally or figuratively} and as bad as it sounds, yell at God. Give Him your anger, humiliation, sadness, guilt, feelings of worthlessness…give it all to Him! Guess what? He won’t slap you on the hand or put you behind bars or disown you as His beloved son or daughter!

I have loved you with an everlasting love…

Jeremiah 31:3

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What was life like before?

Before the babies, the all-night feeding sessions, the dirty diapers. Before the time when taking a shower every 3-4 days was something I only did when I was camping.

What was life like? Sometimes I have a hard time remembering. I didn’t have to pre-plan when I was going to use the bathroom. I didn’t have to feel rushed to make a meal because I just need the whining and screaming to stop! I didn’t have to sneak upstairs to fold the laundry and hope that I could get five minutes of peace and quiet.

And from what I remember I never really had a problem taking care of myself…at least not the previous couple of years before the babies. I remember sleeping in, taking a hot shower just about every day, eating a meal while sitting down at the table, taking quiet walks, feeling the sweat roll down my back while doing Bikram yoga, stretching my body. All this seemed pretty instinctive before the babies. Now that I’m in the thick of raising these little dependent people I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around what I need to do to take care of myself. I’ve tried to make lists of what I thought were the essentials…getting all the beds made, doing 1-2 loads of laundry a day, planning meals at least a week in advance, organizing all the incoming mail/paperwork/clutter into neat little cubbies with color-coordinated labels. When I reread these lists, however, I began to realize that none of these things are essential to taking care of myself! Rocket science, right?

The problem is, I honestly don’t know if I can tell you! At one point I went to a therapist and she actually had to tell me what I needed to do…eat, drink water, sleep, move. You would think this would be pretty instinctual! But now, I see that list and I think, sure of course I need to eat but there has to be more…what am I missing? What is the key ingredient that will all of a sudden make things run smoothly again? Do I really need to pay someone again to tell me what to do? No, I know I can figure this out myself…but how?

I’ve been called an extremist by my husband. I’m all-or-nothing. If I can’t eat well all the time, I won’t eat at all. If I can’t exercise all the time, I won’t exercise at all. If I can’t sleep all the time, I won’t sleep at all. And the list goes on. I get so angry that I can’t do these things 100% perfect, 100% of the time. It seems that I might be “type A,” a perfectionist…doesn’t it? Sometimes that’s funny to joke about, other times I see these tendencies in my 5-year-old and my 3-year-old and it really worries me. I don’t want them to go through life feeling like if they can’t be perfect they aren’t worthy. I don’t want them to give up easily because they can’t do things right the first time. I don’t want them refrain from making goals or starting projects because they aren’t sure they can see them through in their entirety. I don’t want them to sacrifice their health and well-being. But if they see a role model do all these things how will they learn otherwise?


Walk with Him Wednesdays: Sacrifice

“The next 3 weeks, as we walk with Him towards Easter, might we consider: The Practice of Sacrifice. We look forward to your thoughts, stories, ideas….”~Ann Voskamp

I thought I knew what ‘sacrifice’ meant when I became a mother. I filled my head with the idea that if I hadn’t taken a shower for three {or more} days that was sacrifice. If I fed my children before I even attempted to feed myself that was sacrifice. If I cleaned, cooked, played, read book after book before I thought of taking a break {and sometimes this meant just using the bathroom}…these were sacrifices.

Yes, it’s true…these are all sacrifices of sorts. But really in all these “sacrifices” I’ve sacrificed myself and led myself down a very rough road. A road that took me to the depths of depression, thoughts of suicide, feelings of hopelessness. I thought I could do it all…be “super mom.” And when I finally wore myself down to the very earth that I could no longer stand on, all the pretending I had done…pretending to have it all together…gave way and left me vulnerable.

Vulnerable is not a spot I like to be in. Being in this place means I have to trust…I’m not sure I inherently possess this…trust. I did it for a moment though, this trust thing. I trusted God…that He would take care of me through the people who were taking care of me. It took going to those ugly depths to trust Him.

I’m not as deep as I was almost exactly two years ago. I’m not crying every minute of the day. I’m not thinking of locking myself and my kids in the garage with the car running. I’m not afraid to leave the house, afraid that someone will see the ugly marks of depression on my soul. Praise the Lord for this!

But…do I truly know what sacrifice is?

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It Takes a Village…

to raise a child {~unknown source, African proverb}

We don’t often acknowledge this anymore in our culture. We are self-sufficient, too busy, too proud, too stubborn. Asking for help is seen as a sign of weakness.

Sometimes it takes a near-tragedy, a loss of some sort or just a “wake-up call” to prod us into realizing that we can’t do it by ourselves that there are people in our lives that loves us and are more than willing to lend a helping hand, deliver a meal, sit and talk, babysit our kids while we go out for a breather.

Tonight my “village” was a dear friend with three small kids of her own. She could have easily {and gently} pushed me out the door, it was her eldest daughter’s 4th birthday party after all and we had stayed well beyond the end of the party. Instead she welcomed me and my four babes with open arms, fed us, kids played, kids bathed {imagine five kiddos in a standard-size bathtub!} and sent us home tired, happy, bellies full, hearts full.

{Blessing #50}

Our youngest babes sharing