Nagging Mama

A Facebook link yesterday led me to this amazing post over at The Chaos and the Clutter.

This part stopped me in my tracks:

“When I really stop to think about what my kids are hearing from me the majority of the time, it’s not overwhelmingly positive or affirming. I don’t want their childhood memories to contain the background noise of a nagging mom.”

Oh.

Oh, man.

Nagging mom. Yep. That’s been me lately.

To be fair, I have 6 children. Getting them to help around the house feels like herding cats. I suffered a back injury a week ago that had me bedridden a few days and hobbling around after that, with some physical restrictions still to follow. So the house is a mess – more of a mess than usual – and I’m stressed over it. And I’ve simply had to rely on the children to help out.

But because I am moving so slowly yesterday and today, I can hear myself talking to them. I’m not always nice. I have frustration growling in my voice when they do not complete a job the way I want to. I feel my eyebrows arching and eyes rolling when they do not understand a command for the umpteenth time. I’ve yelled some, but more than anything I’ve consistently put forth the drip drip drip of nagging.

How do I break this habit?

Sharla suggested simply adding the words “I appreciate” to my vocabulary. I did this yesterday. I didn’t stop the nagging and I still felt the frustration teeming. I apologized for my show of irritation – a few times.

Here are just a few things I appreciate about each of my children, to put me in the right frame of mind before I hobble downstairs to get dinner going tonight.

Levi (age 10 months): Levi is a sweetheart. Such an easy baby. And he loves his daytime naps. And he loves kissing his mom. I could just eat him.

Gracie (age 3): Gracie is a born-mommy. Her heart toward stuffed animals and dolls makes me want to me a better mom. She likes things put away in their proper places too. I appreciate another woman in the house and I hope to learn from her someday.

Dwayne (age 11): Wow, has Dwayne changed so much in the 4 years since we adopted him. I appreciate his sense of humor. I appreciate his energy. I am so thankful that even when he gets angry, he backs down quickly and makes things right with family members.

Daniel (age 12): I appreciate Daniel’s steadiness. He is a rock that I can count on. When I need a task done, I ask him. With the back pain, how many times have I had him run upstairs to get my Ibuprofen or run downstairs to fetch my water? And I really appreciate the keen eye Daniel keeps on the little ones! More than once has he rescued them from a potentially dangerous situation while mom was distracted. And he’s hilarious.

Micah (age 14): Micah, my big teddy bear.  I appreciate his creativity and deep thoughts. I love that he will share with me the many ideas taking form in his mind, and that he combines logic with emotion while forming those thoughts. I love that he is interested in figuring out a godly worldview.

Christian (age 16): I appreciate Christian’s get-it-done attitude. When he knows what he wants, he doesn’t stop until he gets it. He pushes me when I would lollygag.

Those are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head. I am so thankful for the children. I’m asking God to bless me today by transforming me from a nagging mom to loving mom – but somehow still make sure the kids get the things done we need done.

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