Want to have a patience when you feel overwhelmed as a mom? I want to offer you some practical ways to help your perspective shift to seeing these moments as opportunities for His grace that will yield fruit not only in your children, but also your own heart.
There I was, in the bathroom, huddled with my knees to my chest. The fan on trying to tune out the noise outside the door, the noise in my head. My eyes red and puffy from crying. My cheeks tear stained. I was immobilized again by my own emotions. Even as I was atttempting to help my little guy through his own overwhelm, mine flooded over me and I exploded in anger and tears, running out of the room!
How can I help my child wrestle through his overwhelming emotions when I can’t even do it myself? How can I expect him to calm down, when I myself don’t even know how? These thoughts racing through my head.
How to have a patience when you feel overwhelmed– Why we feel overwhelmed
There are logistical reasons that can lead to overwhelm, which I hope to discuss in a future blog post, but today I just want to cover a little bit about the mindset that can be at the root first.
The Spirit convicts, but the devil condemns.
It was in that moment that the Spirit ministered to my heart and I was washed over with peace. I knew that those condemning thoughts were not the Spirit of God but my flesh and the forces of evil wanting to pull me down. It was not about me not being good enough or not able or lacking the power to, but relying on Christ’s strength to enable me.
You see, I just wanted an outcome. I wanted an input=output scenario. I did the right thing, now my child should respond accordingly, kind of attitude. But I was convinced by the Spirit there on the bathroom floor that it was not about ME doing it, but relying on Christ to just be obedient and faithful to my calling. The outcome was not my responsibility. Control over the circumstance was not the objective, but the yielding of my soul and heart to His will for me. Because He loves me, cares for me and has already conquered that sin I was struggling with.
I have had so much more peace in my parenting since that moment. Do I still struggle? Of course, but the power of that gripping anger mounting doesn’t control me anymore. I know now that I can trust the Spirit to enable me to obey him and yield up of myself. This not only models obedience to my own children, but it is also the means I have seen God use to help my children through similar feelings.
You are not alone if you have wondered how to have patience when you feel overhelmed as a mom
We can overcome these difficult moments by the power of the Spirit working in us! This is good news! Christ has overcome sin and death! His work on the cross on our behalf means sin no longer has POWER over us!
If you have ever been here, you are not the only mama crying with the fan on in the bathroom to drown out the sound of your own sobs and maybe even the sounds of your little ones on the other side of the door. But it doesn’t always have to be this way. We can learn ways of yielding our responses and situation to the Lord so that He can be glorified as we delight in serving Him.
How to have a patience when you feel overwhelmed: 3 tips
I want to offer you 3 ways today how to be patient when you’re overwhelmed so that you can have a few tools to work through these moments in a Biblical way and respond instead of reacting in frustration.
Believe me, if I can- you can too! Patience is not something I am naturally prone to! I am naturally a quick-tempered, fiery redhead! Hah! But I can say with honesty, that when I am struggling with patience the most, it is when I am relying on myself to “fix” or control my circumstance or child. Today there are much fewer moments I lose my cool than moments I am able to work through the overwhelm with a sense of calm resolve.
1. Slow down
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. Psalm 131:2
It’s only the 3rd time this week it’s happened. Our delicious and a bit too precious raw milk has accidentally been bumped out of the fridge and spilled EVERYWHERE including under the fridge. I’m late getting dinner on the table, and the baby is crying in the other room right now waiting to nurse.
My Pastor has a saying that has stuck with me. I’m sure he got it somewhere else, but I’m not sure where that is so I’ll just use him as the source. It’s this:
Oh, man! Has this been difficult for me to implement! I am a productive doer, by nature raised in a family of “on-timers” but that doesn’t fly with 9 kiddos! I have learned the hard way that how to have patience when you feel overwhelmed as a mom is by first slowing down, almost every time.
The discipling moment can be lost when I rush from one thing to another. But, my children’s souls are more important than arriving at church on time, or getting dinner on the table promptly. Sometimes all that is needed in a frazzled moment is 10 seconds. I ALWAYS have 10 seconds to spare. No matter how rushed I am, or how wild the moment feels, just taking a pause for a prayer and a breath can help slow down my heart rate and help me assess the moment with more clarity and not just what it feels like.
In moments we are rushing around it is so easy to bulldoze over my children’s feelings, and even them! Arriving in harmony is worth those extra few minutes. I might be late somewhere, but that is less important. Enjoying a peaceful late dinner in fellowship is more desirable than a hasty word spoken leading to a dinner out of fellowship but on time. Passing by a moment to train my children to respond lovingly, will not establish the healthy communication patterns I desire to guide them in for the future. So when I feel the tension mount and the clock ticking. Just pausing, listening, seeking to slow down and do what is needed instead of missing another opportunity for grace and teaching can make all the difference.
2. Seek first to understand before being understood
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
He’s done it again- melted into a puddle on the floor. “I can’t!’, he cries through sobs. “I can’t put on my shoes! I don’t know where they are, and I don’t want to go!” The baby’s on my hip, the car is started, everyone else is getting ready to load up. The diaper bag slides off my shoulders as they sag. I feel like being the one that melts into a puddle.
How to have patience when you feel overwhelmed by your child’s frustration, as well as your own? Sometimes frustrating moments come up with our children because we are wanting them to just do what we say. But if we can take a moment to actually hear them, and respond to them accordingly, we can often diffuse a heated moment.
For example, you might think your child is just throwing a fit about putting his shoes on. But, upon further observance you might find out that the reason is perfectly legitimate. Maybe a sock is bunched up uncomfortably inside their shoe or they feel panicky that they won’t be able to find them soon enough. You get the idea. There are a myriad of reasons why they could be reasonably upset. They’re just not able to express what they are feeling. It is our job to respond in a way that teaches them how to clearly communicate what they need so we can help them.
How to have a patience when you feel overwhelmed- some helpful phrases to use
I like to use phrases such as,
“Ok. I am here. It’s ok. Let’s see what the problem is.”
“How can I help you?”
“Are you stuck?”
“Are you uncomfortable?”
I try not to use a battery of these questions in a row. Just calmly asking one at a time as I listen. Or simply seek to help them communicate what they need to you calmly. Assuring them you are there to help them!
How to have patience when you feel overwhelmed by your child’s disobedience
Another situation where the child is upset can be because you have asked them to do something they are refusing to do. As soon as you have done what I shared above and you can see they actually DO NOT want to put said shoes on, you are usually in a rational state of mind instead of just reactionary and emotional. This places you in a good position to respond with resolve.
I still feel it is my responsibility to teach them how to communicate, not just to get those silly shoes on. My desire is to reassure them that I’m on their team, but I must stand my ground. Using phrases that clarify what they’re feeling can be a way to reassure them of this.
Helpful phrases to use
“Ok, you don’t want to go. I understand. It’s hard to leave early. It’s hard for me too. But the dentist is waiting and it’s time to go now. How can I help?”
“I see you are upset, but you still need to _____ How can I help you obey? Because if you won’t obey, there will be consequences.”
Notice the difference in the scenarios? There is usually a “can’t” attitude when assistance is needed, or a “won’t” attitude when it’s more a mode of disobedience.
Sometimes just repeating what they are feeling will be enough for them to see you are on their team. It’s important that they see you desire to help them. You’ve set clear boundaries and if they won’t submit their will, at least you know you have submitted your own will by not getting upset and trying to control them or manipulate them.
I will add, this helps at any age. If my TEENS are upset, and I calmly seek to understand them first, we can diffuse a lot of unnecessary disagreements before they even start!
3. Model the maturity you want to instill
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34
“Fine! Then I’m never coming out! ” The door slams, I jolt. My shoulder’s droop, my head drops. This was not the response I was anticipating when I asked him to go calm down in his room until he was ready to obey. I am tempted to tell him that is “FINE WITH ME, AND YOU CAN JUST STAY IN THERE AS LONG AS YOU LIKE!”. Buuuut…
Now the stage is set and there are many ears and eyes listening and watching.
When the emotions are up and I am feeling frazzled, I try to remind myself that I need to be the obedient one. I get to exemplify the maturity and behavior I want seen repeated in our home. This can stop me in my tracks quickly when I realize all the eyes are on me as I respond to the situation. Would I want my children to respond the way I am tempted to in the moment? Can I use this “opportunity” to model for them a biblical response under pressure, stress, overwhelm etc?
I can pray and ask God for the grace to show them what obedience looks like, or I can respond as willfully as my child. One response will yield peace, while the other adds fuel to the fire of strife in our home.
This has gotten easier for me to be aware as my children have gotten older. I see them exemplifying how I parent with how they treat their siblings. It can be a painfully clear mirror of humility sometimes and also a great perspective. I want to aim to lead with love and forgiveness as they watch me as a parent.
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I hope these tips encouraged you today to seek to yield your emotions, your time, and your spirit to Christ’s leading you today in parenting patiently.
You dont’ have to be a frazzled mama if you remember this work is about Him working in your heart, not just getting the outcome you hoped.
Usually the latter comes from the former, though. God is good and kind like that.
Let me know in the comments- what has been the biggest struggle for you in parenting?
What is God working in your heart right now for His glory?