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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Anger (01/24/05)

TITLE: "Mean Mad Mommy!"
By Donna Surgenor Reames


She stared angrily at me from the corner of the diningroom where she'd been "banished" for a five-minute time-out. Hot tears spilled down over her small flushed cheeks and a lower lip trembled as she sat in the little red plastic chair. Arms crossed tightly over her chest, her whole body signaled fury, resentment, anger. "Mean mad Mommy!" she muttered, looking down when she saw me watching her. I pretended not to hear her so she said it again, louder, for emphasis.

"MEAN MAD MOMMY!" Silence. "MEAN MAD MOMMY!!!" More silence. In three of her five minutes for time-out, she managed to utter her angry mantra seven or eight times. I stayed quiet, working on my computer at my desk nearby. We'd been through this before and I knew, from experience, that silence was my only hope. Arguing back, defending myself, correcting her...all only served one futile purpose: to make her even angrier and to widen the chasm between us.

When the timer bell went off, letting both of us know that her five minutes was up, my daughter stood up stiffly and looked over at me, waiting for me to say she could go back to playing. I nodded, smiling at her and then told her that I love her.

"I want you to know what is acceptable and what is not," I reminded her gently. "That is why you have to go to time-out when you do things that are not acceptable."

A sudden smile broke through her stoniness and my girl ran to me. Flinging her arms around my neck, she hugged my hard and whispered in my ear, "I know, Mommy. I love you. You're really not a mean mad mommy!"

I wish I could say that every time-out at our house has looked just like this one, which happened just this weekend. Unfortunately, there have been times over the last 11 years when Caroline's "mean mad mommy" description would have very accurately fit me. I'm ashamed to say that I have: yelled, screamed, fussed, nagged, ignored and argued with each of my three girls over the years. I've thrown temper tantrums of my own and have been unfair, unwise and uncertain in disciplining my precious children.

For a long time I lived in guilt because of my own quick temper and lack of patience. And then one day I found a book called "She's Gonna Blow!" by a writer named Ruth Barnhill (I think! I can't remember her name right now!") about Christian moms who struggle with anger issues.

Thank GOD for this writer, for her honesty and openness and her willingness to be vulnerable. She writes about how Christian moms can deal with their anger in positive, loving ways...but even more helpful, she shares God's grace in helping us deal with a very real problem that happens in more Christian families than we realize.

I've not been an abusive mom to my sweet girls. I love them dearly and appreciate the honor of being their mom. But I've made mistakes along the way and it's comforting to know that I'm still an okay mom...and that it's okay to ask for help now and then.

Now, when I am tempted to lose my cool, I think of Barnhill's book and I try some of her techniques. I will take my own time-outs. I will call someone. I will pray in the bathroom. I will hold my child close. But I won't succumb to the feelings of inadequacy that sometimes act to make the situation even worse: feeling like I'm a lousy, hopeless mom used to make it even tougher for me to step back and exercise a little self-control. Now, in embracing my humanness, I am able to face the weakness head-on and go straight to God about it. I pray every morning for grace to make it through the day and to be a loving, patient mom. I pray because I know, in advance, that it's an honest, real struggle for me at times...and that's okay. I don't have to hide or deny: I can just be real. Sometimes I get angry and I understand why my little girl thinks I'm a mean, mad Mommy. But, thanks to the encouragement of folks like Barnhill, those times are fewer and farther in between.

Be angry and sin not. I may not ever be able to stop being angry altogether, but with God's help, I can handle it the way a Christian mama should: with patience, love and grace.

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This article has been read 784 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Lee Schab 01/31/05
The title definitely drew me in and your article did not disappoint! Wow, could I see myself in this one! What a great lesson on God's grace. And as mothers, we know we need it often!
Wonderful entry. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Blessings, Lynda
Deborah Anderson01/31/05
This was a good lesson and I appreciated your transparency. God bless you.
Debbie OConnor01/31/05
Great job. I've been a mean, mad, mommy myself at times. Really a wonderful article. Very encouraging.
Karri Compton02/01/05
God bless.
Henry Swart02/02/05
I enjoyed this. Disciplining children can be tricky these days.
Phyllis Inniss02/02/05
It's great when we can learn from our mistakes and grow into a better person than we were. Thanks for sharing.
Linda Germain 02/02/05
Wouldn't it be nice if the Barnhill book were included in the going- home- from -the- hosipital gifts, along with diapers and bathing instructions? We don't realize how soon we will need that information! Nice article.
donna robinson02/02/05
I definitely have to go and get this book. Working with children for a leaving, I find parents truly wanting to be better and I am thinking this one would be good to add to my nanny bag. Your article gave me hope that even when we make mistakes, we are still loved...
Joanne Malley02/03/05
I'm sure many moms can relate. Enjoyed the honesty in this piece. Joanne
darlene hight02/06/05
Great entry! This would be a good one for most parent magazines.
darlene hight02/06/05
Great entry! This would be a good one for most parent magazines.