When The Badness of a Day Gets Flung Onto Your Kids - Sarah Mae
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When The Badness of a Day Gets Flung Onto Your Kids

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A barbie shoe.

It was a barbie shoe in the grass that prompted her to yell at me. I had been playing barbies with my friends outside on a blanket, but somehow, that shoe ended up in the grass.

My stomach tightened and my hands shook. I hated being yelled at. I hated the tension of how to act after the yelling. I hated feeling like I was always creeping over land-mines.

The shoe, that was just one time of many.

Today I gave that feeling to my daughter.

I screamed. And then I sat on my steps and cried. I held my hair in my hands and I shook. Have I become her?

She shook. With big eyes and her body half hidden behind the doorway, she nodded that she would clean. I yelled at her because she didn’t clean. “I’m sorry, I just wish you would do as your told.” My feet dragged my body up the steps and into my bedroom where my bed caught me and I cried. I could hear her crying downstairs. All for what?

My husband had had a bad day at work, and I had a bad day, and the badness of the day got flung onto my kids through the sharpest weapon I have: my tongue.

And in bed as I cried I remembered the tension and the shaking and how I hated being yelled at.

Back down the steps.

She was on the couch. We were two teary-eyed girls who needed each other. She nuzzled into my body and I rubbed her head and I said, “I hate being yelled at. I did to do you what I hate. I’m so sorry.” We held each other for a long while, and then we began again.

In those moments of cuddling, God’s grace broke through the guilt and regret by telling me that I wasn’t her. I never had anyone rub my head or cuddle me or tell me they shouldn’t yell at me. I never had the warmth of a nuzzle; I was left with only the tension.

But my girl, she has my skin close to hers, and my heart, and my love, and my warmth. She has my sorrow. I may have botched up in a moment of incredible weakness, but I am not my weakness.

God shows up in the cracks; His light comes through my dark, and we go on. We kick tension to the curb.

You can kick it, too.

We all botch up, every day, some days, but we don’t have to stay there, in the mess. Sure, we can, if we choose to stay hardened, to not apologize, to not accept His unwavering grace. But we also have the choice to lay ourselves low. We can feel sorrow and we can get up from the muck. We can enter into real love when we break before others and let Him bind us up; they see the mending and the scars, but they forgive us, as we forgive them. This is grace and freedom. And with grace and freedom there is no room for tension, the painful, ugly tension that strangles a soul.

You can choose to begin again.

And again.

And again.

His grace never retires.

He will never quit you and the work He is doing in you.

Begin.

Love, SM

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  • Samantha

    Your story is my story. I remember those days when my mother would yell at me and I would go to my room in such a bitter mess. I’ve had those days where I’ve taken it out on my children too. Sometimes I think we all just need someone to vent to and unfortunately it ends up being on our children. This is not right and I’m ashamed of myself when it happens. I, as you do, apologize, talk it out, give big hugs and move forward.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Our pain can move us forward because we learn through the groaning and then we choose what to become. Thank you for becoming grace to your babies.

  • Angela Hassett

    Sarah … I wish I could put into words how you touch my heart with every entry. When I first stumbled onto your blog… I ran downstairs …. screeching… your story … your stories you continue to tell… You are an inspiration to me … thank you for what you do .

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Angela, thank you. Your words are a gift to keep going when I just feel done.

  • Jenifer

    Thank you for this encouragement, I needed it!

    Jenifer
    jenifermetzger.org

  • Teish

    Oh I know the yelling. It still scares me when anyone starts yelling. It was my Dad that yelled the most. We had a hard relationship. He and his mother had a hard relationship. She and her Dad did too. Generations of it, and I worried that repeating it was unavoidable. But a wise man told me that it could end with me.

    Somehow, God gave me courage to try. Yes, there are days I have to apologize to my precious children. But my husband is quick to remind me that an apology is the one thing I never heard, so I’m already doing things different.

    I just keep praying that God makes me into the kind of Mom they need. *hugs*

  • http://www.facebook.com/debi.baker.77 Debi Baker

    This is my day all over…however, it isn’t my kids that got the bad day flung at them…it’s my hubby! He doesn’t deserve it but my mood has been horrible tonight…for no apparent reason. Honestly, I think I just need a good cry and everyting would be alright. However, I am not the crying kind…he doesn’t handle it well.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

  • http://gracefulabandon.blogspot.com Lisa Grace

    Thanks for this; much needed! I love this: God shows up in the cracks. BEAUTIFUL!

  • Suzanne

    You bring tears to my eyes. This is me more often than I’d like to admit. I have to humbly go to my kids and apologize for screaming the orders that they ignored the first time (or couple times). It is a stuggle trying to be the godly mother that I want to be. I had amazing, godly parents, but I still let the stress creep in and take it out on my kids. Thank you for the beautiful reminder that we can begin again. Love your heart!

  • Paige

    Thank you, thank you! Your words always speak to me.

  • Stacie Nelson

    I struggle with this, too…and some days I have to fight hard against the desire to retreat…and not go snuggle and not show warmth…and be hardened. Praise God He is full of grace and merciful to me, and I can go to my children and show grace and mercy to them….even when I’ve botched it up badly! Hugs to you!

  • http://joyceandnorm.wordpress.com Joyce and Norm

    Thank you for this post. It was a bad day here too. 🙁

  • Noel McNeil

    This is wonderful. I had a BAD day last week and I had a few days of tears. Thanks for sharing your weaknesses with us because we all struggle too…whether we want to admit it or not. Mothering is hard, but God gives us the strength to continue, the ability to see our sin, and the unconditional love that we need and need to give to our kids. Lord bless you and may He continue His good work in you and in us all!

  • Daphne

    This happened with my oldest (6) about a month or so ago, and I remember thinking, “Am I like her?” I hated that I yelled at him and said things I never meant. He, like I was/am, was very stoic and only showed emotion after I had beyond hurt his feelings. That broke me. I cried. He cried. No! I’m not like her either. I never had someone come talk to me, hold me, tell me they were sorry, stroke my hair, ask my forgiveness and reassure me of their love. But he does. Over a month later I still feel really badly about that… Words are so painful. This coming from a mother completely, unabashedly in love with her children. It happens to the best of us. Grace, thank God for grace.

  • heavenboundhomemaker

    Sarah Mae,

    I am so grateful we can fall forward. We humbly apologize and then we have a fresh beginning every day. Children are so forgiving when we tell them we were wrong. Excellent post! My grown daughter said she valued this very thing about my mothering. She said she would have rebelled if I had not been real. Thank you for being real and transparent! Refreshing and encouraging to me!

  • Sherie

    This was the first email I read this morning. I had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day yesterday. Although by the grace of God, my daughter was not at home, she certainly would have been yelled at if she were. Thank you for being God’s hand in my life today.

  • Beth Williams

    I can so relate to this post. While I don’t have any kids, my hubby and I can yell at each other quite frequently. Usually it is over something that happened at work or just life stresses. I am very quick to forgive him–cause I love him so and don’t want hurt feelings to linger on in this house.
    If God can so quickly forgive me daily for my sins–then I can fall forward and forgive him and love him as the one specail man that God delivered to me!

  • Alexis

    Thank you for this….. I keep typing more to say but I can’t find the words. Just thank you 🙂

  • Jenni Allen

    This was straight from the heart of God to his children. A message that many of us need to hear. Thanks for being His hands to write.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LadyIsSeriouslyAmazing Lisa Jo Rodriguez

    Thank you for sharing this. I will use this daily it is so true. 🙂

  • anuradha

    I share your story. It’s good to know I’m not alone. But my boys, they are the greatest blessings of all, and I tell them that every day, and when I bless them at night, they often bless me back, saying, “God really loves you too, mom….more than you could ever know!”

  • Melinda Gallone

    Sarah Mae, we don’t know each other personally but I feel like we do sometimes. Your blog was my first. The first one I ever followed. The first one that made me know this virtual thing really is community. Reading your story and your struggles made me feel less alone, less horrible. I have kids slightly older than yours and I homeschool. It’s funny to see a bit of me in some of your posts. I’ve smuggled with balance and trying to set priorities. I’ve made big announcements that things will change. Now I’m learning that there is always a fluid shift, that no wek or month is the same and my writing will happens when it happens. I saw your tweet yesterday that you had no words. Sister you have words. This post is it. This is what people need. We need to hear that were not alone on our humanity and we need inspiration to do better, to be better. I know when I’m just honest with a struggle when I write, it has the most impact, but that struggle usually needs a resolution or readers feel…. Stuck. So I’m learning if I don’t have words its because things are neither going very well or pretty bad. And words don’t need to be my focus in that time. Life does. Any way thanks for sharing this. My mama temper needs tweaking. I’ve been working hard on it but have been struggling lately. So thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=686442200 Kristine McGuire

    You know, I’m not sure there is a single mother out there who hasn’t experienced this. I know I did when my own children were young. If I let it, those times when I failed would replace the many more moments I laughed and played with my children, or apologized and hugged, or held and comforted them. Thank God for His mercy and grace. Love truly does cover a multitude of sins.

  • http://profiles.google.com/angiehowardmusic Angie Howard

    I have yelled…so many times. But I ALWAYS try to back up the yelling (which is just WRONG) with tenderness and a plea for forgiveness. Thank goodness my daughter’s heart is soft toward her mama and she forgives me quickly. Praise you God for the gift of mercy.

  • hart_larissa

    Sarah Mae, this was *just* what I needed to hear/read tonight! I am forever falling into the trap of ‘flinging’ the ‘badness of the day’ onto my daughter … and then feeling utterly shattered by the effect it has on her. It’s not her fault her mummy falls behind with her own time organisation leaving us late *once again* to do things … and yet, it seems like more often than not the blame seems to somehow automatically shift to her – you know, coz she just takes too long … kinda like her mum!! Oh what would I do without her?! What would I do without her love & laughter in my life?! … And yet, when things get “tough”, the badness gets flung.

    … Thankyou for reminding me that we can have God’s grace in this … even -especially – in the mess and badness of it all … And Thankyou Lord for your ever present grace and love!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1738366996 Darcey Zahaykevich

    Thank you for this message. I love it when we are honest about our emotions and when we can tell each other without fearing judgement. I have been reading some blogs that have really ministered to me about anger and blowing it and I want to thank you for your honesty and showing me the right way to respond. I only know what I was brought up on. Thank you so much!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112465798 Raeleen Sewell

    Thank you for putting feet to these words. These are thoughts that so often linger in my head. Thoughts that are mixed with the feelings of guilt and shame. I, too, hate being yelled at. And I, too have to back track, ask for forgiveness, and help repair the damage I’ve caused. And in it all, I am so thankful for grace.

  • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

    I hate when I do that too. And I hated it growing up too. And I try too, to apologize and soothe and make amends. Thanks for this reminder to be humble and to face our mistakes in parenting. It’s a tough job, eh?

  • http://www.sharppaynes.com/ Tresta @ sharppaynes.com

    This is me. And God is so good to let me know I’m not alone, because “such as is common to man”. He’s so good to lift my eyes off of self and to help me move on in grace. Real life is ugly sometimes but you show, again, how His Beautiful makes up for all of it. Thank you.

  • Sharon

    I hate how often I fly off the handle and I fear it will only be worse when our newborn arrives in a few weeks. I watch my daughter peacefully sleeping at night and wonder how I could ever get so angry at her during the day time. I love the idea that I can begin again as many times as I need to.

  • http://twitter.com/Christy_Fitz Christy Fitzwater

    YES! I think this is the best work a mom can do -to immediately go say sorry and cuddle. I think this is the action I took when my kids were little that has allowed me to enjoy a sweet relationship with them now. Wonderful words of life, Sarah -thank you!

  • Gail

    I had a good childhood ,but we’ve all had a “barbie shoe” yeller in our lives.
    But I must not be that de-grader to others in my life you reminded me. But your words about ” I am not my weakness”, seared to my core…to self forgive when I do become that barbie person. Forgive, learn , move toward new habits
    ( transforming my mind)..

    Thanks for this important lesson.

  • Cherilyn

    Thank you…

  • http://twitter.com/Livvyssmile Sara xx

    My mom ever showed me affection unless she was drunk and even then I would wait nervously for the tide of her temper to change. For a long time I didn’t believe I would be a mother as I was scared of being her, but life changed and through the love of my husband I started to believe in love again. Yet I still find myself screaming at my girls but you know what I am not her, I make mistakes sure but my girls know they are loved with all my heart. I only wish that for myself now, I still believe love comes at a price for me.

  • Gina Smith

    that was my life as a child, and that would be my life as a mom, apart from the grace of God! When I see my own ugliness, I somehow have a little bit more grace in my heart for my mom. I am her…no…I am a sinner just like her! By the grace of God go I!

    http://keepinitrealgina.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.e.faulds Mary Faulds

    I hope you know that you wrote this just for me today, specifically. Today has been a really bad day. I have a sinus infection and my face hurts. Oldest son woke up really early and couldn’t stop coughing. Husband and I tried everything. That woke up our baby son, who then thought it was play time. When he left for work about 10 minutes later he called me to say he had a flat tire. He was fixing it, but just to let me know. He has an hour commute. Trying to get the kids ready, my youngest pulled an ornament off the tree and thew it, which promptly shattered all over the floor. Then when it was time for me to bring the kids to school, my daughter’s seatbelt was stuck. And I yelled at her. It wasn’t her fault, but she was crying and throwing a fit about it, and I just dumped on all three of my babies. Before all of this, I read Romans 8:28, ironically (not really) the verse of the day on my phone’s app. I was convicted. After I yelled at my kids, the Casting Crowns song “East to West” came on. I felt exactly like that song. It’s hardly 8 a.m. and how many times have I already failed today? Anyway, writing this out is somewhat therapuetic, I know everyone has these days, but anyway. Thank you for writing this. I did stop and told the kids that we were going to start the day over, and let’s smile and make this a joyful day. It’s been better since then. 🙂

  • Goopenhiemer

    I just happened upon this as I’m cooling down while my son is in time out for playing with the tree decorations (for the umptheeth time!). This time he broke one. He broke my husband and I’s special porcelain bell. May God please fill me with His grace as He has already sent His Son to die for these sins. He forgives us. It’s just a decoration right?

  • Adrienne

    Sitting here crying. Remembering my childhood and how I promised myself to never repeat it with our children. By God’s grace, I have never physically abused our children like my father did, but I have not surrendered enough to Him to stop yelling. Thank you for your tranparancy. Thank you for the encouragement to begin again. You typed exactly what I needed to read this morning. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  • Jen Mc

    Ouch 😉 very true and I needed this reminder

  • Lindsey Bell

    I shared this post on Facebook. It was such a great reminder to me this weekend. Had one of those days…Thank you:)

  • Nancy@ThereIsGrace

    Sarah, I have recently started following your blog, and I’m so thankful for it. The last few months have been especially difficult for us. Since September, my husband and I have endured the loss of a parent, a surgery and multiple biopsies for me, my husband being hospitalized for pnuemonia, and multiple sniffles, coughs, and pink eye with our kids. Unfortunately, my kids have felt the brunt of my stress more often than not. I am ashamed to say it’s happened too often in the last few days as I feel myself wearing down under the stress. I have wanted to blog about it, but quite honestly, I can’t find the words. I just finished writing a tear-stained apology to my husband for my actions this morning when I paused to check my Google Reader. And there was this post…just when I needed it most.

    Thank you for allowing us to see the messes of your life along with the triumphs. Thank you for being obedient and showing us God’s grace in your words. Thank you for being a vessel for God to speak to me when I need it most. Thank you for your words.

  • TraciMLittle

    so good Sarah Mae. I’m sharing on fb! <3

  • http://twitter.com/mbracingrace Leah@embracingrace

    My childhood resonates with this post. Why is it such a struggle to not repeat the past?! Thank you for this reminder.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.coburn Jamie Ivester Coburn

    one of my most favorite posts ever! Thank you for this.

  • willingworker

    When I read this post, I was reminded of the book I am reading right now called Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh Demoss…She mentions a story about a mom who grew up with an angry yelling type mom, then she found herself yelling at her little toddler. She then realized how she didn’t want to be like her mom, realized the impact on her life it had, and realized that she had hard feelings towards her mom due to her anger bringing her up, and that she had not forgiven her mom. She then forgave her mom for the anger she experienced growing up, and found freedom from anger herself through the forgiveness! I thought I would mention that, since there are so many commenting on how they were brought up and now the current struggles. Could forgiveness be a key for us as mom’s to have victory in this area?? Worth praying about and thinking over….

  • http://www.amylearns.com/ Amy Tilson

    Oh why, oh why didn’t I read this when it was posted instead of today. Grace!! So glad for it and so blessed by it! This was my yesterday and two days before that. Thanking you for walking through the hard before me and with me and then writing it all down. You are so good for my heart and my mind.

  • Elizabeth

    Grace. It’s my oldest child’s middle name. And, boy, do we both need it! I sinned against my oldest a week or so ago in an ugly-scary-mommy kinda way. As she sat on the bed crying, we discussed that mommy had sinned in her anger and that mommy was wrong. I asked her to forgive me and for a very long 4 or 5 seconds she just continued looking down at the bed. I held my breath. She finally looked up at me smiling, arms spread and ready for hug and said, “Always, mommy!” Now that’s pretty awesome. Grace extended to me by my 9 year old. Thank you for blessing my heart with your words.

  • Jeniffer

    I can’t tell you how many times “Have I become her?” has echoed through my head. How often I see the tears and feel the aches from my own childhood mirrored in my girls’ eyes. I do work on saying, “I’m sorry,” though, and I hope that there is a difference.

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