But guess what I’m learning? It’s ok. Did you know that a human can’t really control another human and have a healthy relationship? And no one can control you unless you let them. What we need to focus on is controlling ourselves.
Check out the quote from Danny Silk’s book Loving Our Kids on Purpose, “You can’t control other people, and nobody can control you but you.” He goes on to say, “The ability to manage your children and yourself toward the goals that you have in being a parent rests in the ability to tell yourself what to do and do it no matter what they’ve done or are doing.”
But ya know what is reallllllllly hard? Self-control. Just by existing as a human, it’s super hard. Then add on a job, a spouse, several other key relationships, lots of expectations, temptations, and curve balls. HA. Good luck to ya, my friend. Sprinkle on a couple kids and I seriously dare you to survive one single minute with sound mind and a spirit of self-control without working hard to achieve the goal.
Oh wait, did I tell you that your chicken is burning in the oven, one kid is trying to jump from the couch to the coffee table and back while the other is performing some sort of hand washing ritual that soaks the floor, the counter, the mirror, and still somehow never manages to get the hands clean? Oh, and there’s the Amazon package delivery guy ringing your door bell that sets the dog to barking and the baby to crying.
But don’t worry, I still haven’t really piled on top the pressures of maintaining a reasonably clean home, the fact that your family needs to eat dinner every single night (what IS that?!), and the laundry pile that grows day after day after day. And you probably have some hopes and dreams, maybe some emotional stuff you’re working through, maybe a full-time job.
I’m literally exhausted just typing this out. You’ve probably stopped reading already for the very same reason. But if you’re still with me, let me share with you a couple key takeaways I’m *trying my best to implement from the truth that at the end of a very good day, the only person I can say that I’ve controlled decently well is myself.
It’s all about choices:
Fear or Love: “When we allow the mistakes of others to manage us, to dislodge us from the goal of being loving and respectful, what we are actually submitting to is a spirit of fear.”
What does that mean for me and you? Self-control looks like being as loving and respectful as we can during heated exchanges with our kids over anything from mismatched socks to the toast they said they wanted and you made for them that they shunned because they obviously didn’t want that toast.
What does that NOT mean for me and you? That our kids don’t suffer the natural consequences of their actions. And that’s where we have to get creative (and read the rest of the book, because this is not a book report!).
Helpful or Hurtful: “[Our] words are spirit and [we] carry vision for [our kids]. [We] carry it in [our] hearts and in [our] lives. [We] carry what it is that [we] want them to have.”
What does that mean for me and you? That we have the choice to breathe life into our kids at their worst moments. When our kids look into our eyes, no matter what is happening within and around them, they need to see that we believe in them!
What does that NOT mean for me and you? That we’ve got to be perfect at this. That we aren’t honest with our kids. That they don’t suffer the natural consequences of their behavior.
This is so hard for me! I’m a really emotional person. And I’m a bit fiery, too. But I can only control myself (on a good day), and it’s my job as a mother to teach my kids how to operate under the freedom that they have, and model it well. And that truth spills over from mothering to every other relationship we have: we cannot control another.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Keep in mind, this is one philosophy taken from 2 pages of an entire book. I haven’t painted the whole picture (because I’m not Danny Silk, and if you want the whole picture, I’d suggest you pick up a copy of the book!)
Listen, you are a really great mom. Perfection doesn’t usher in peace. Never has, never will. But let my words seep into your heart today, no matter what you’ve got charging down the pike. You can do this. You’re not alone. You’re the best mother for your children, and at the end of the worst day, I guarantee they’d agree with me on that one.