Oh no. The topic none of us want to discuss. The topic we all know (even if secretly) we need.
Sure, I have patience most days. Sure, I’m gentle. Yes, of course, as a mom, I’m loving.
For a time.
But what about those hard days? The days when the house is crazy and chaotic and the kids are running around like it’s a circus and you can barely recognize them as your own children? (Am I alone here?)
What keeps me in check then?
Or the dinner hour. Also known as chaos hour around here. Here’s the scene:
- Dad is NOT home yet and WON’T answer his phone.
- Dinner is half way done, requiring your attention at the stove top for stirring, flipping, or sauteeing.
- The baby has pooped.
- Two brothers are punching each other wildly, resulting in one or both running frantically into the kitchen screaming.
- The pot boils over on the stove while you’re changing the baby.
- Now you need to wash your hands before you can get back to cooking. HURRY!
- Your phone rings. It is NOT your husband.
Still patient? Gentle? Loving?
Um. No. I’ll be first in line to say that I sometimes blow it when it gets hard like THAT!
It’s something I need to work on so much. (Is that why this topic was not brought up in this series til just now?)
Self-control is what keeps us in correct character when we feel like falling apart. When we feel like screaming. When we feel like throwing a mommy tantrum and storming off into the other room and slamming the door so that everyone knows just how ticked we are.
Am I being too brutally honest with you? You would never act like that, you say?
Well, as moms, we need apply self-control in more areas than just our emotions.
Self control helps us keep balance and order in other areas of our lives.
Oh no. I had to mention it. I normally don’t struggle too much with controlling my weight when I’m not pregnant. If I know I need to shed a few extra (unwelcome) pounds, I can usually apply myself, exercise some self-control, eat well and the weight falls away. But when I’m pregnant!?! Well, it’s a whole OTHER ballgame, my friends! Midwife says a bite of dessert is okay? HA! Right! My big weakness during pregnancy is my craving for desserts and I have a very hard time telling myself NO. Resulting in – you guessed it – way more weight gain than necessary when pregnant. Bottom line? It’s all about self-control here. Self-control is always about making the better choice.
Moms especially need to pay attention to the pace at which they’re running. Run too hard for too many days in a row, skipping Sabbath, and your body will have no choice but to demand rest from you. Why let it get to that? Self-control here is about listening to your body. Especially true during pregnancy, I’ve found that when I feel tired, it’s better to sit down and breathe than to conquer a pile. It’s better to grab that glass of water and rest than to finish off that laundry. Our bodies are designed to communicate with us in such a way to tell us exactly what we need. And generally, some days as moms, we can run harder and longer, and some days just need to be lighter days. Learning to embrace flexibility here helps a lot.
Self-control is not just about disallowing ourselves things and activities. Self-control is needed to keep us proactive in areas where we know we should be spending time, too. As moms, we just can’t neglect our responsibilities and expect things to stay in order in our homes. It takes self-control to be able to apply the daily discipline to perform all our duties any given day. Some days I don’t feel like cleaning (mentally). But I know I can’t give in to that temptation. Just like I know I can’t neglect my time with God each day, or else experience a build-up of unwanted grime, I can’t neglect my home.
There are so many areas in our lives where we need to use self-control, and these are just a few that I’m challenged by regularly.
What about YOU?
To read more articles in this series, click here.