A Letter To The Mother Of Young Children

Dear Mama,

There are a few ways in which I would like to encourage you today. Yes you. The one who finds herself in the midst of sleep-deprived nights, load after load of laundry, toys on floors, and noisy days.

I know that you love your children, and how your heart is to lay down your very life for them. You have given up your dreams (for now), your own ideals of a gorgeous, tidy, Pinterest-style house, your space and your silence, in order to pour your very existence into the hearts and lives of your little ones.

You are to be applauded! You are to be praised, dear mom! While thank you’s are scarce, and mess is much, you keep on day after day pouring drinks, spoon feeding mush, and wiping little noses and bottoms!

I’ve been there my fellow mama. In fact, I’m still there now. But, even though I have a 3 year old, and an 8 month old, I also have already somehow managed to raise the delicate souls of a 13, 11, and 7 year old (without breaking them!). I’m not much further ahead than you, but just enough to know that:

It gets easier!

a-letter-to-mother-young children

Children actually do grow up it seems. They learn to walk by themselves at some point. They become capable of grabbing a snack by themselves. At some stage, with some encouragement, they begin to tidy up after themselves. Then before you know it, they are allowed to cross the road by themselves. And ultimately they communicate (in language that you can actually understand) by themselves!

And as each of these and many other milestones are reached, you will find that moment by moment, task by task, life will get a little easier for you. It will go from extreme physical to more spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and verbal in nature.

At times, you will long for the simplicity of meeting your children’s needs simply by picking them up or changing their diapers. These needs, though they seem endless and trying now, will eventually be missed when you find yourself having to explain the complexity behind a decision you’ve made, or comforting your child’s deep hurts of rejection from a friend.

These days of meeting your baby’s every physical need and pretending you understand your toddler who is rattling off in some mysterious sounding language, and toilet training your child who you’re convinced should have mastered the act months ago… these are the good ol’ days!

Enjoy them. Appreciate them. Savour them. Tweet that

Remember that God so lovingly placed this little verse in the Bible just for you (Isaiah 40:11):

He tends his flock like a shepherd:

    He gathers the lambs in his arms

and carries them close to his heart;

    He gently leads those that have young.

That’s you, sweet friend! That’s you….

As you lead your young flock, He leads you. You are in His arms. And they’re not just any arms.

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Deuteronomy 33:27

Those everlasting arms surround you when you’re feeling faint with exhaustion.

Those everlasting arms support yours when you would rather give up.

Those everlasting arms give yours strength to tackle the daily tasks with which you’re faced.

Oh, I know that it’s a joy for you to serve your precious little gifts, but I also know how invisible you sometimes feel.

How you miss the old you – the capable one who could figure things out, the intelligent one who would read books and contribute to adult conversations, the one who could actually make a cup of coffee and drink it will it’s still hot (not one you made 3 hours ago and never got to drink past the first sip!).

Well, that part of parenting does get easier! Even though your little ones are adorable at the stage they’re at, in order for them to reach the next stage, the more independent one, you need to get them through this one first.

Not alone. Not by your own strength. But with the ever-present help of the One who leads you and has His everlasting arms wrapped tightly around you.

Keep on, dear sister. And sneak in time to smile, to breathe, and to delight in these good ol’ days!

With my love and big hugs,


P.S. What would most encourage you on your journey during this season of your life? 

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Posted in Children, Motherhood, Parenting, Womanhood | 25 Comments

5 Hidden Reasons Children Lash Out At Their Parents

Welcome dear friend!

Before we delve into some truths about ourselves and our children, I would like to highly recommend a fantastic course to you by Crystal Paine (of Money Saving Mom fame):

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One of the most popular posts of all time on Women Abiding has been 5 Surprising Reasons Wives Lash Out At Their Husbands. I personally have been guilty of every one of the reasons mentioned, and by identifying the causes of my irritability, God has helped me tremendously to lessen the occasions of behaving in this way towards my beloved husband.

In place of lashing out, I have found that choosing to serve, love, be gracious and gentle with him has yielded far greater results, and an indescribably better atmosphere of peace and joy in our home.

I thought it may be helpful to delve into 5 Hidden Reasons Children Lash Out At Their Parents.

5-hidden-reasons-children-lash-out-at-their-parents-women-abiding Now, I write this with a little fear of what you may think of me. Since I know full well that a family with two believing parents, and at least some believing children, are not supposed to have episodes where children lash out at their parents. To do so would be disrespectful, dishonouring, and at the end of the day unacceptable. However, having said that, our children are little sinners, saved or not, and until they learn how to handle certain situations, come under the control of the Holy Spirit, and choose holy in place of, well… horrible reactions, lashing out is what we may sometimes expect.

The thing is that just as it helps you as a wife to be able to identify the real reasons that trigger your own lashing out to your husband, and thereby either avoiding or working on those areas, it would likewise be an infinite help to be able to identify the causes for your children lashing out, too – for the sole purpose of helping to avoid the conditions that may lead them into unnecessary sin. Let’s face it, they have enough sin in their lives to deal with, and so why not come alongside and lessen some of those temptations for them.

1. You guessed it… Hunger

This is the most obvious reason. Our children can simply not go without food for as long as we can, and their capacity to be self-controlled under ‘starvation’ is pretty impossible. I have advised several young moms over the years who have asked me for advice on how to deal with their children’s tantrums to make sure that they never get to the point where they are super hungry! And it has helped. I am no genius for coming up with this epiphany, I assure you.

In an article titled, Can Low Blood Sugar Cause Bad Behaviour in Children on Livestrong.com, the writer explains:

As hypoglycemia develops and the brain is deprived of sufficient glucose, your child’s behavior may quickly deteriorate. She may become irritable, bad tempered, depressed, lose concentration, get suddenly sleepy or easily cry.

All that to say, I’m not making this stuff up ☺!

So, what can you do to avoid all this from happening? Easy – make sure that your children are stocked up at all times with something in their tummies. If you’re an hour out from your evening meal, don’t hesitate to give your child a little healthy snack; a fruit, a carrot, just something healthy to keep them going till mealtime.

2. Unconfessed Sin

Okay, so this one is probably not as relevant to your one year old as it is to your 11 year old, but read on if you only have a wee one, because the days are drawing nigh…

What I’ve noticed is that when my children are hiding something, whether it’s a sin that’s been committed behind my back, or even a personal sin that they feel guilty about, their remorse and shame over their sin can be expressed as anger and rudeness. Now, of course there’s no point in suspecting that your child is to blame for some heinous sin which will be exposed in due course. However, if there is no other explanation for your child’s misbehavior, it may be worth spending some one-on-one quality time with them to give them a chance to share what’s on their hearts. You may be surprised at the burdens that your child may be carrying, including sins that they have committed and feel ashamed of that are weighing on them.

Making yourself available for your children to unload the contents of their sweet hearts is a sacrifice that will pay off time and time again, and that will forge a precious relationship that will only grow and strengthen in the years to come.

3. Pride/Rebellion/Defiance

As moms, you and I often try to delve deeply into the corners and crevices of our children’s hearts to mine out their motives. The issue is that God is the only One who can truly know where their behavior stems from. So, one of the many jobs that we have is to be detectives; to ask the questions that lead us to unveil the mysteries of our descendants’ ways.

You see, my friend, behavior such as expressing their anger or any other emotion, is actually a symptom, and as a good physician led by The Great Physician, we need to discover the cause of those symptoms. We need to place our imaginary stethoscope to their hearts and try to hear what they are actually saying.

One reason your child may be lashing out at you may be due to pride.

You see, your child may very sincerely believe that they know better than you in a certain situation or affair. They may see your judgement or decision as incorrect and unjust, based on their own assessment and understanding, and their way of thinking may be so superior and clear in their little minds, that whatever you are suggesting or implementing, in their eyes, is inferior to the point of disgrace. They know better. Or so they think. And in their mistaken thinking, their pride may come out as anger and even condescension.

Our precious, inexperienced children simply need to learn submission and humility. Okay, so it’s not so ‘simply’. You’re right. It takes about eighteen years give or take a couple to teach them this truth, but I encourage you, my sister, not to give up, and not to give in. One realization after the other in which they come to see that mom and dad were indeed right, is a step closer to their trusting you, their submitting to you, and their obeying you.

Learn to identify when your child is lashing out from a place of pride, and lovingly point it out. You may by all means bring up a previous incident in which you were in fact right when your daughter thought she was, in hopes that this will trigger her memory and infuse some humility into the scene.

But in any case, in a loving and kind way, your view as the wiser party is ultimately the one that needs to be heeded, if for no other reason than honouring and respecting you as your child’s God given authority.

4. Feeling Overwhelmed

One unexpected discovery I’ve made over the past few years with my children is realizing that they can become as overwhelmed, stressed, and frustrated as adults can. Too much schoolwork, too high an expectation of chores to be done, and not enough to time to ‘do it all’ can cause even young ones to feel a burden that we often associate with adults carrying.

And you guessed it, while you as an adult who feels as though life is getting on top of you can deal with the piles on your to-do list by knuckling down and doing one thing after the other, by delegating tasks, or by prioritizing projects, children simply do not have the know-how, ability, or experience in doing the same. So they get frustrated. Which accumulates. Which leads to anger. And they vent. On you!

I have take two actions when I step back to assess the situation, and suspect that overwhelm is the cause for the outburst:

  • I wait till peace and calm has returned, I take the child aside or out with me on an errand, and take some time to ask him questions like:

“How is your life going these days?”
“Is there anything that is bothering you?”
“Is there anything I can do to make your life easier?”

  •  Once I have drawn out of the child what is overwhelming him, I inform him of a change we will make.

For example, if he shares that he feels he has too much schoolwork and that he can’t finish it in time to play in the afternoon, I would say, “O.K., honey, how about if you did 3 pages a day in every subject instead of 4? Do you think that may help?”

Now I must point out that if I think that my son is suffering due to his own laziness and sin, I do not make changes to make things ‘easier’ for him. I would tackle his sin graciously head-on, talk with him about it, and pray with him that God would help him to turn away from it.

As a parent, one of the many reasons that you and I are have been placed in our children’s lives is to aid them in their struggles, frustrations, and hardships. 

These do not warrant disrespectful behavior, but identifying that they are feeling the weight of life, whether it be a strained friendship or too many library books to get through, is helpful in dealing with the cause of their venting, and at times assisting them in lightening the load so that they can continue to enjoy being children for a little longer.

5. Laziness and Pleasure Seeking

As humans, smaller in size and shorter in years, your children are sinners. And at the heart of all sin is a dirty four letter word called ‘self.’ Tweet that

At their very core your children want to do whatever it is that they like to do.

If it were up to them, they would most likely sit all day in front of a screen, eating sugar in all of its vilest forms, going to bed later than imaginable, and spending their time with other little people probably around their own age 24/7.

As such, when you as a parent, invade their above mentioned desires with tasks that require them to think, work, and make any kind of effort, it will not, at times, be pleasantly received. Because they want to serve themselves!

I know this is a rather bleak view of these most beautiful treasures that God has given us on the earth, but if you believe in the Bible as God’s inspired Word, as I do, then Isaiah 53:6 is true of our littlies too, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Or how about the well known verse from Romans 3:23:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

If you’re still not convinced:
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:3)

A meager outlook, would it have not been for God sending His Son to die so that men may be forgiven, changed, and saved for eternity.

When our children are asked to do something that opposes what their hearts desire to do, they can often lash out in disapproval. Whether they are trying to get you to retract your request or simply strongly express their disappointment that they won’t get to do what they want to do, they need to learn that that they have been born into the world to glorify God.

Serving others, laying down their own desires for the sake of others, and seeking to do the will of God above their own are lessons that I am sure you will agree, we as adults are even still in the process of grasping.

Once we have observed that the root of our children’s anger is laziness or seeking their own pleasure rather than obedience to the authority that God has lovingly placed in their lives, we can use it as a teachable moment to lead them once again to the Lord.

My friend, the bottom line is that children should not lash out at their parents. Anger in itself is not a sin. It is an acceptable and often understandable emotion. However, given the right training, channeling, and opportunity, children need to learn to use self-control and to share what they are going through, or at the very least to say, “I’m feeling so angry right now!” and proceeding to deal with their emotions while still respecting you as their parent.

I know it’s easier said than done, but if we look at the long term vision and aim to either anticipate what our children’s perspectives are, or what could be leading them to expressing anger, we could try to prevent it, help them manage it, and ideally take it to the Lord in prayer.

We’re all on this journey together, dear mama. My children are so far from perfect, you wouldn’t believe!

In many ways we are students of our children, and I still haven’t figured out when we graduate and what degree we achieve at the end of it all. Tweet 

But as we lie in the trenches, faces muddied, clutching to our God for wisdom, strength, understanding, and grace, may our minds, eyes, hearts, and hope be ever on His goodness.

May His all-encompassing Word be your compass and steer you and your children to lives that are lived unto His glory alone!

I’m rooting for you!!!

How are you doing in the trenches, sister? What wisdom can you add to either insight on why your children lash out, or ways to deal with the situation when they do?

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Posted in Character, Children, Motherhood, Parenting, Truth, Womanhood | 33 Comments

Fantastic Secret Tip to Making Each Day More Productive and Satisfying (& Giveaway)

Today’s post is by a guest to Women Abiding! I’m thrilled to host Lisa Crilley Mallis and to learn from her the invaluable insight that she has for women tackling busy lives:

Do you juggle multiple priorities and activities each day? Do you (sometimes) feel as if you just can’t get it all done?

First, I need to share a secret with you – it is NOT possible to “get it all done.”


You are an intelligent human. You will continue to have new interests, start (and complete) new projects. You have a family to serve, church body to be involved in, personal disciplines to achieve, and, and, and, and. As the months and years go by, you will probably continue to add more to your “list”.
However, you can create the kind of day where you feel productive and rewarded, where your most important activities are completed. (Tweet). You can eliminate the, “Oh my goodness, it’s noon (or 3 pm or 5 pm) already and I haven’t accomplish ONE THING on my list” syndrome.

Let’s Play with Blocks

One of the strategies I recommend is time blocking.

Create blocks of time each day to accomplish your most important tasks. When you identify what types of activities you want to accomplish and at what time of the day you want to accomplish them, you add a little bit of structure to your day. This allows you to be proactive with how you spend your time. Without structure, sometimes we can find ourselves being reactive, putting out fires throughout the day.

How long should your blocks of time be?

It’s up to you! You want the schedule to be flexible enough so you don’t feel stifled, yet structured enough that you have direction. Some of my clients use one-hour blocks each day, others block their day into morning, afternoon, evening. Still others create ‘school time’, ‘work time’, and “family time”.

Gary Keller, author of The One Thing, believes you should create one 4-hour block of time each morning to dedicate to your highest priority. You need to find the schedule that works best for you.

What activities should you assign to each block?

This is also up to you!
What are your priorities? What are your interests? Obligations?
As an example, if you’re a morning person you may want to set aside an early morning time block (could be an hour or two) which you could call ‘God-time.’ Activities could include reading your Bible, praying, writing in your journal, and you could even include exercising while listening to some worship music to prepare your heart for the day.

Another time block at some point in your day could be ‘school prep.’ Activities could include checking over your children’s assignments, creating lesson plans, researching field trip options, updating required records, corresponding with other parents, researching supplemental materials, etc.

Does each day need to be the same?

This, too, is up to you!
Does your life fit a schedule that can easily be repeated on a daily basis? Or weekly? Or monthly? Possibly a schedule that repeats weekly will work well for a few months, then situations/obligations shift and a new schedule needs to be created.

What are your next steps?

  1. Become clear on your goals, dreams, and life vision. What are the activities that support those goals?
  2. Group these activities by category: spiritual, personal, business, school, family, projects, volunteer, etc.
  3. Create a rough draft schedule for a week. Pencil in some blocks of time. Assign a category to each block.
  4. Try to follow your blocking schedule. NOTE – I said “try”. This is your first attempt. It takes many of my clients 5 – 6 attempts before they find the schedule that best works for them.
  5. Keep notes each day on what worked in your schedule and what you want to adapt. You may find that certain parts of the day are better for certain types of activities. For example, you may find that your mind is clearer in the mornings to get your admin type work done. Or that you are a more effective teacher to your children (if you homeschool) during the mid-morning to early afternoon hours. It may take a couple of weeks before you identify which activities work best when.
  6. Assign an ‘evaluation’ block each day. During your ‘evaluation’ block, make adjustments to your calendar. Remember, the goal is to create a schedule that supports your goals. The key is to keep what works, and adapt the rest.

I encourage you to ‘play with blocks,’ experimenting with times, categories and scheduling. You’ll soon find that you’ve created a wonderful structure out of these blocks,  and discovered a fantastic secret tip to making each day more productive and satisfying.
I also encourage you to reach out for support with your building blocks – a little coaching might be just the thing to get you started on that structure. Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary strategy session where you can have your questions answered by your own personal time strategy visionary. www.ScheduleWithLisa.com.

fantastic-secret-tip-making-each-day-more-productive-and-satisfyingLisa Crilley Mallis, time strategy visionary, combines her experience in education and coaching with her love of schedules, systems, and time management to create personalized and easy to implement solutions.

She is also the author of Ho Ho NO! Tips for an Organized and Stress-Free HolidayYour Time. Your Business. Your Life.: Time Savvy Business Strategies To Unleashing Your Potential, and Your Time. Your Life, 30 Days to Success: An A.W.E. Inspired Journal. Lisa lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio with her husband Lou and his dog, Neuton. She loves chocolate, the beach, and country music.

Email Lisa at Lisa@SystemSavvyConsulting.com.

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Some features of this great planner:

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  • The weekly section is the one that you will use most often. Each week starts out with a ‘Tasks for this week” space, which you can use to jot down tasks that need to be done such as phone calls, appointments to schedule, etc.
  • Next are the Tasks list pages which are untitled, allowing you the freedom to create monthly, bi-monthly or seasonal lists.
  • The Projects section are for occasions that need more space for writing.
  • There is a section for phone numbers and addresses needed temporarily, to save the time of looking up the phone number again.
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Posted in Homemaking, Motherhood, Parenting, Time, Womanhood | 22 Comments