Monday, June 28, 2010

Finding A New Way

Welcome to the "Carnival of Catholic Parenting" hosted by Maman A Droit! This month's submissions are inspired by Hebrews 12:1-2:
Therefore since we are surrounded with such a great cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us.
After you read this great post, you're encouraged to check out some of the other contributions to this month's carnival through the links at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

“And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (Douay Rheims version-including this version since that is what we use here)

I have read this verse many times in the last few weeks. When I saw it posted as the theme for this first Carnival of Catholic Parenting, I thought it was very fitting for the struggles and things going on currently in my role as a mother.

My great cloud of witnesses is still quite small compared to some other moms I know, but they are still witnesses, as proven by my son many times a day as he repeats an action, or word of mine. As of late I have been reminded of what is important (at least to me!), and how I was falling short, drastically of that. I had totally missed the mark. I am currently working to rid myself of those burdens to become a better mother, to instill in my children, confidence, emotional stability and of course, most important, faith, our beautiful Catholic faith. To run the race, not merely sit and watch it go by wondering how I got left behind.

My burdens are many to me at this time. Lack of patience, using words in a negative way – which hurts my children, lack of consistency in boundaries and discipline, and the worst, my temper. These not only effect my running the race of motherhood, but also, my faith, which in turn, also effects my mothering!

As a parent who strives to be an Attachment Parent and follow the Gentle Discipline model, you can see this presents many hurdles to jump over. For the last three years or more I had not realized that I was using words in such an awful way, in such a cutting way. I didn’t realize that the words I thought were okay, really where not. I also had not known how awful my temper was. I thought I was patient and not quick to anger.

To help me be a better witness and to run the race of motherhood as best as I can, I am mostly working on my temper and my words. It is a daily, if not hourly struggle. I analyze every word that comes out of my mouth, I am forcing myself to think before I speak, to think what effect the words I am going to say will have. Are they dismissive? Insulting? Hurtful? Degrading? Demeaning? Negative? If I find myself starting to just randomly say mean things (on purpose, with the intent of being hurtful/mean/insulting………..which is what I mean about using them in a negative way), I stop myself. I have gotten better at this, and I hope someday, that desire to use words poorly will not be there. Not only will using words in a more positive way help my cloud of witnesses, it will also help my faith. Using words like that is not good for being close to God, it puts a barrier in that relationship. This is also something I hadn’t realized until recently.

Temper is a little harder. I try to catch myself before it gets bad. It is not even conscience at this point. Sometimes I’ll go in my room, sometimes I just stop. I haven’t been as good at this as working on my words (it is also not as often an occurrence). Mostly I want to be consistent in my reactions, boundaries and discipline. I don’t want the kids to not know what’s going to happen, not know if today moms going to yell for the smallest thing, whereas yesterday she didn’t care. I also really feel that my temper harms my faith, I should be practicing patience and not reacting in anger. I don’t remember where I read it, but I have seen it several times said that when we discipline it is not to be in anger. This is part of the reason we have chosen Gentle Discipline as our model for discipline. We both have a temper, Chip’s more controlled than mine. When you take the physical out of your discipline, it is a little harder to be angry while disciplining, at least for us.

It has been a rough month or so, but things seem to be looking up. Writing this out has made me realize that I have actually made improvement, made me feel that I am not a total lost cause! I have a long way to go, but hopefully I can overcome these burdens to be the best mom I can be.

Don't forget to check out these other great Carnival of Catholic Parenting posts:
  • Julie @ Journey to the Simple Life talks about her struggles to be a positive witness through her speech in her post, Finding a New Way

  • Kate @ Momopoly discusses the importance of timing in Maternal Pacing

  • Heidi @ Extraordinary Moms Network reflects on why she turns to the cloud of witnesses in Sweet Mysteries of Life & Faith

  • Cassie @ There's A Pickle in My Life talks about the temptation to let others' choices distract us from our own families in her post, Running the Race

  • Maman A Droit compares the people who help her be a better parent to the people who helped her be a better cross-country runner years ago, in her post, Run Faster!


Kate Wicker @ Momopoly said...

Thank you for this beautiful, honest post. A lot of us parents struggle with biting words and flared tempers. Parenting is both a tiring and emotionally tasking job, so it's easy to see why we sometimes snap. Not that I'm condoning it. I love to have the AP ideal to strive for and continuously have to pray for moments of grace. Thank God we're not in this alone.

Great post.

Maman A Droit said...

It's so easy to get mad and so hard to be patient and calm sometimes! Knowing your personal weaknesses though is a great step towards strengthening yourself in that area, and it sounds like you know what you are doing and what you want to do instead. I'll pray for you to keep improving! And it's a great reminder to me to watch my own temper as Baby gets bigger. It hasn't been too tough yet, but he's not even a year old yet, so we'll see :)

Pickle said...

This post sounds like me too. I try so hard to be positive with my words. Even though my son is only 13 months it's interesting to me how he's already learned 'no'. Though I don't say it to him very often, but he's learned it from just what I say in general. So I can imagine what he'Ll learn after this on a few years!!
Your post was awesome. Thanks for sharing!!