December 31, 2013, was the day I realized I was a bully.
It was a rough night. Actually it had been a rough several days. The flu had hit our household. The little one fell victim first and Big followed suit the next day. For several nights, my sleep had been anything but restful. In the midst of all the sickness, we are smack dab in the middle of transition.
We sold our dream home after only living in it for under three years and moved in with my parents while waiting to move back to Atlanta. Being the control freak that I am, a lack of control and transition make me very uncomfortable. In this season of misery, I mean transition, my husband had been gone more than he was home due to work. So in the middle of sickness, transition, and my husband being gone my sanity was in a ditch.
The night before, I slept a combined total of four hours due to Little coughing all night long. It felt like the days of nursing a newborn when I would catch moments of eye-shut wonder every 45 minutes between feedings. (Is there another way of saying that without sounding like a cow?)
By morning, however, it felt like night since it was pitch black outside. Big decided it was time to wake. I wake furious. I mean, seriously, when was the last time I slept — like really slept? Probably 2007.
I walked in their room and threatened that big girl in the most threatening whisper imaginable. I asked for 15 more minutes of quiet before we started our day. My socialite girl cannot handle quietness. She is a morning girl through and through. Two minutes later, I was about to blow. I stormed in the room on tip toes in order to not wake Little and yanked Big out of the bed. In the hallway I whisper-ally yelled, “I only asked for 15 minutes of quiet to not wake the baby!” I then shunned her downstairs. Alone. Being alone is her worst nightmare. My heart of hard and my words like ice.
As Little woke, I could hear my big girl crying inconsolably downstairs. I stood looking in the mirror at red, puffy eyes and realized that I was a bully. I was a bully to my own kid. I would never consider yelling at some random kid or my friends’ kids, yet I somehow deemed it perfectly acceptable to yell and demean my very own child.
I thought about myself. Do I respond well to yelling? Does it prompt me to choose correctly if someone yells at me? Do I gain more respect for whomever is yelling at me? The simple answer is no. Of course I don’t respond well to that, so why on earth would I think that my mini-me would respond well?
I knew something had to change. I walked downstairs and looked my daughter in the eyes. I told her I was sorry for yelling and she quickly forgave me.
I don’t write this post with answers or solutions. I can rack my brain for ideas to help calm the volcano in me: no more Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. No more TV dramas. Find a Pinterest board or blog to help. Read the Bible more. Eat chia seeds. I don’t know. I’m willing to try anything for a solution or fix, but part of life is accepting the messy, ugly reality of myself and asking God to work in me. Which for a someone who wants to do it perfectly right the first time, that is a tough task. I do know that the first step is just this: It’s realizing that I’m a bully. I’m a selfish human being who doesn’t know the first thing about parenting but can rely on Someone greater to cover me with grace.
I realize I’m not alone in my feelings. I never thought I was an angry, yelling-type person until I had kids. Kids have the ability to push you further than you ever imagined.
Maybe you feel like me. Maybe you feel completely inadequate in the job of raising kids. Maybe you find yourself failing more than you succeed. There is freedom and power in knowing you aren’t crazy alone. I am crazy with you.
One of the blogs I follow is called Hands Free Mama, and she wrote a post about this very thing. In her post, she spoke about realizing that she bullies herself which then causes her to bully her daughter. That is me. Maybe that’s you. I am my own worst critic. We as women tend to all be that way. I hold myself to an impossible standard. I offer no grace to myself. Her advice was to simply stop. Whenever the critical thought of herself enters her head she says, “Stop.” Whenever the critical correction of her child wants to spew forth, she says, “Stop.” Maybe a step forward today is as simple as saying, “Stop.”
So here I am. I’m Sarah and I’m a bully. But today, I say, “Stop.” I want to stop the bully in my head. I want to choose love. I want to accept grace.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
Here are 5 ways to let go of control and trust your present and your future to God.
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
How to Rescue a Day Gone Wrong in Your Marriage
Just because a day doesn't start well, doesn't mean you can't rescue it.
How To Change Your Life in 10 Minutes
Here's how you can change your life with a simple 10 minutes a day.
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Here are practical ways to help your child lean into the voice of God.
5 Strategies for Developing Lasting Love
These practical and biblical strategies can help you develop lasting love.
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
The Psalms is a book that's rich with the reality of what life's like in this fallen world. Here are...
What Women Are Saying
--Rachel Starr Thomson, author of Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord's Prayer
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith4 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship5 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships4 weeks ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage5 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Everyday Faith4 years ago
6 Simple Ways to Give Thanks in the Thick of It
Articles5 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Articles5 years ago
Relationships6 months ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Articles8 years ago
June Cleaver Syndrome