I have been spending time with women friends, exchanging notes about their relationships with their mothers and it breaks my heart to hear story after story about their “crazy” moms– moms who are self-absorbed, bitter, broken, unkind, play favorites, and suffer from identity issues.
There are valid reasons behind the bad parenting choices these moms have made, but they may never fully realize how deeply they have wounded their daughters, women who are my friends, who are moms just like me. It’s miraculous that these women friends are turning out to be such wonderful moms themselves. That’s the grace of God in their lives. However, it’s also sobering to be confronted by the reality that my thoughts, words, and actions matter so much to my own girls. I can become a version of “crazy” if I am not spirit-filled and resort to hurting them, too.
To be honest, there are times when I do. As a homeschooling mom, wrestling with impatience is an everyday struggle. Even if I don’t yell at my kids, I feel very exasperated when they don’t understand a concept I have repeatedly taught them, or when it’s hard for them to exercise logic and common sense when a lesson seems easy and basic. Sometimes this aggravation manifests itself in deep sighs, rolling eyeballs, or negative comments that make my kids feel inadequate and insecure.
Just the other day, I was teaching Tiana math and she forgot how to count to 100 by 5s. Irked at how quickly the lesson faded from her consciousness, I snapped at her and gesticulated with my hands like I was in pain, “I don’t understand. This isn’t hard. What’s wrong? Why can’t you get it?”
As I mouthed this out, I gripped the pages of her math book in my hands and motioned like I was going to tear it in half. Even if I wanted to, I really couldn’t have because I mistakenly held onto a portion of the book that was too thick.
Tiana noticed all of this, of course. She self-consciously bowed her head to a point where I could still see her beautiful eyes, now troubled, looking up at me with concern and fear. She probably wondered what I would do next and the rest of the kids visibly displayed their anxiety as well.
My heart sank. What was I doing?! An immediate apology was necessary to abate everyone’s tension. I took Tiana in my arms and said, “Please forgive me, Tiana, for getting irritated. I love you. I was wrong.”
I felt horrid, a big time failure as a mom, as a homeschooler.
Why was I so worked up about Tiana’s inability to count by 5s? And why did this display of frustration and rejection on my part have to happen again to my sweet girl? (I wrote about a similar entry earlier last year.)
Well, just like the moms my friends described, I have the same tendency to be controlled by my emotions, to act out of arrogance, fear, and selfishness. The real me is an ugly person whose default mode is to express this ugliness unless I am controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Over the past weekend, one of the topics of a retreat we attended as a family was the “Exchanged Life.” The speaker, a good friend of Edric and mine, delivered a powerful message that can be summed up in the phrase, NO LONGER I BUT CHRIST.
I praise God that He didn’t just save us from our sins, He equipped us to overcome what is broken and ugly in all of us. He gave us the power to be victorious over our common follies and common mistakes by sending the Holy Spirit to dwell in us when we come into a relationship with Him through Christ.
Most days I am not a crazy mom and this is because of the Holy Spirit’s work in my life but it doesn’t mean I don’t have “crazy” in me. It lurks and waits for opportune occasions to bear itself, fangs, horns, and all, and the damage is not to be diminished.
To the moms who can identify with this struggle and to those who grew up in homes where they never felt unconditionally loved or accepted by their mothers, might I encourage you with this: We don’t have to pass on the hurts our mothers wounded us with, and we don’t have to be the kind of moms who give in to the crazy in us. We have a God who loves us and redeems our pasts, and who secures our future. He is committed to helping us be the moms we need to be, no matter how we were mothered ourselves or how challenging it may be to fulfill this role in the present. However, we have to make some hard choices.
First, we may need to ask for forgiveness from our daughters. And we may need to forgive our moms (even if they never say sorry.) If we don’t, bitterness will defile us and those whom we love.
“Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;” Hebrews 12:14-15
Next, we have to invest in relationship-building activities and routines that minister to the hearts of our daughters. It can be reading to them, learning to cook together, taking walks, having “tea or coffee” (my mom does this with my sisters, sisters-in-law, and me periodically), going to the grocery or doing errands together, giving random hugs and being generous with words of appreciation for their character, their talents, and abilities. The point is to do with them and for them what matters to them, what makes them feel special and important.
Two nights ago, my eldest son, Elijah, reminded me to tuck Tiana into bed when he carried his little sister, Catalina, into the girls’ bedroom. Tiana remained awake, unwilling to retire until I prayed and kissed her goodnight. I happened to be caught up in a long conversation with a friend who needed some counseling so I assumed that Tiana fell asleep.
By this time, I had comfortably settled in to sleep but Elijah’s reminder encouraged me to inconvenience myself to be with her. I stepped into her darkened room quietly and caught sight of her sitting up in anticipation, hoping I hadn’t forgotten. She smiled with relief as I came to her side to smother her with a kiss and hug, and pray with her.
“Were you waiting for me?”
She nodded and then peacefully slipped under the covers and closed her eyes.
That moment gave me a picture of what daughters are like. All daughters, no matter what season or age, are hoping that we will notice them, accept them, and desire to be with them. Let us break the cycle of pain we inherited or the one we initiated by meeting their need for our affection, attention, and affirmation so that we can create a cycle love that our daughters will pass on to their future families.
35 thoughts on “We Don’t Need More Crazy Moms”
Hi, I’ve been following your blog since its birth. However, I do feel that the title of this blog entry could have been worded in a gentler way. There are mothers who struggle with hormonal imbalance and not everyone is aware or can afford the medical treatment that is required, and yet they could fall into the definition of “crazy”.
I hope you don’t mind it when I say that “crazy”, could have been replaced with a softer adjective.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. Joy, you are so full of it. There are moms who struggle with mental issues and can’t control themselves. It is clinical. Please look up narcisstic personality disorder in the mental health book – it is classified as an illness 85 is not a choice. It’s simply how some people are wired.
This is officially my last straw with you. You make it seem like there is no room for mothers to make mistakes or wait, BE HUMAN. Of course we get frustrated, of course we yell, of course we get irritated. But you make it seem like these simple things are WHOA OMG SO DAMAGING to the kids-Im THE WORST MOM EVER, I FAIL IN LIFE, its a major sin in church!!! Just. Stop. It! Stop making it seem like you’re a normal mom with issues and then suddenly turn it into a preachy, OMG im the perfect mom for realizing this and not damaging my kid/my husband/my relationship because IM SO PERFECT!
Seriously. ITS NOT WORKING ANYMORE. You just make moms/wives feel more inadequate about themselves. Also, your parenting style? GOOD LUCK HAVING ENTITLED KIDS when they grow up to be adults. So afraid of hurting them!
I was told by a friend who worked on a campaign with you in your home fr a brand and guess what they thought of your kids? While they look perfect on social media, they’re almost neurotic and just plain weird in real life. The older boys don’t even know how to socialize and are quite old to not know basic and common sense things. While you keep on harping about your homeschool success, I hear and see otherwise. So please stop it with your perfect life, you are not encouraging or inspiring – you put other mothers’ morale down.
Woah, I don’t think Joy deserves your comment, Janice. I did think that the title and first few paragraphs of this entry leaned towards preachy but you don’t need to viciously attack her kids…
Janice i don’t mind expressing your opinion on Joy especially if you strongly disagree on it. That’s your opinion. But leave the kids out of it. When you start attacking the kids, it only portrays your character. Now instead of worrying how “neurotic” her kids are, maybe you should just work on yourself first. The apple doesn’t fall from the tree. I just hope your kids aren’t as disgusting you are Janice. They are unlucky they are your mother- selfish and judgemental.
* They are unlucky for you are their mother- selfish and judgemental.
Hi, Janice! I pray in the name of Jesus to break you from the bondage of pain, hurt and anger. If you feel that people like Ms. Joy don’t exist, it is because you are full of hurt from your past (or present) that you cannot fathom that such a person can love and feel so loved. The good news is, Jesus is much more loving than Ms. Joy. I pray that you meet Him in your struggles as a mom. I am not Ms. Joy’s lawyer or #1 fan, but her blog has encouraged me to homeschool and be a better parent and wife. I met their family in Baguio and my daughters instantly became their daughters’ friends during a homeschooling conference. The demeanor of their kids is surprisingly independent, joyful and sociable. They are very respectful and outgoing, contrary to what others think of homeschoolers. If you need someone to talk to, you can message Ms. Joy or much better go directly to Jesus. May God bless your family Ms. Janice! =)
Yes amen sister:)
wow janice, you seem to suggest that bitterness and unkindness should be celebrated on the pretext of ‘mental illness’. The issue here is definitely not with the illness, but rather, your tendency to normalise destructive behaviour rather than seeking to be a better version of self. Judging from your insulting comments towards joy (while suggesting that she insults all other mothers), I see that you are so in need of some form of spiritual healing. What i gather from joy’s article is nothing but an admittance to her imperfection and her desire to be more Christ-like. Pity you don’t share the same sentiments. My prayers are with you.
Dear Joy, thanks for your honest sharings of success and failures of motherhood. Still loving you from singapore!
Wow this helped me thanks Love. Normalizing destructive behavior vs. trying to be better:) awesome
Thank you, Love! You are so loving just like your name! 🙂
Joy’s life is clearly not perfect. She admits it in almost all her blog posts. Keep her kids out of it.
P.S. You need help. And don’t forget, mahal ka ni Lord 🙂
We, Joy’s sisters-in-Christ, can follow your lead and retaliate by hurting you too but we forgive you as Christ has forgiven us. I am trying to understand where all your bitterness is coming from but my mind is finite so may God who knows all the longings inside your heart comfort you instead. I am a mom myself but I’ve never felt that Joy was putting my morale down by sharing her imperfections and realizations. Actually, I feel very encouraged and inspired because of her authenticity. Her stories of failures and victories shows us that we can always rise up after each fall. It’s beautiful seeing it from our end. May you have brand new eyes to see them yourself. However, I pray that if reading her blogs is damaging to you then may you have the strength to simply stop following or reading about her. You’re just hurting yourself more through your self-inflicted pain. Remember that bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
Despite all the hurtful things you’ve said towards our sister-in-Christ, I pray that you will come to know the saving power of Jesus and be enlightened about Joy’s perspective in life. She lives the way she does only through Jesus. You can only find this way of life through the Bible. It’s not just difficult for us to be Christians; it’s impossible! This is why we rely on His strength because apart from Him, we are nothing. I pray that you realize that your comments are too harsh especially those about Joy’s children. I pray that you will have the courage to apologize. I’ve met the kids so many times and they are hands down adorable! They are respectful, good mannered, and very intelligent for their age. Perhaps you need to meet them personally for you to fully understand why many of us are convinced to home school our children. Janice, we love you with the love of Jesus in our hearts. May God bless you.
All the best,
Oh wow, I haven’t even read Janice’s comments yet. But what an encouraging response, April. Thank you. I will try and read Janice’s comments and see where she is coming from…
Hi dear Janice and any other moms, I believe that your comment comes from a lot of hurt. But no matter what mental issue someone has there is still no excuse for bad or hurtful behavior. We really need to forgive and ask for forgiveness. I have been a crazy mom sometimes and have had mental breakdowns where I tried to hurt myself. But I knew it still hurt my family so I asked for forgiveness and tried better by God’s grace. Crazy is a real word. I have forgiven my mom but she did some crazy things. Locking me in my closet and trying to kick me out of the house naked when I was 6-7 years old. Please tell me what that is? What would you tell a 6 year old…your mom has some clinical thing so it’s ok? Praying for you.
God’s love and grace is so much bigger than you and your not so nice comments. I forgive you Janice:))) It hurt me just to read your note.
Janice, if you have a problem with this blog, it can be solved easily- unfollow it, unsubscribe and if Joy is your friend, which I hope is not the case, then unfriend her and unfollow her. No one is forcing you to read her blog and no one is forcing you to homeschool. God gave us freewill, and you can use yours properly. Your comments are offensive and disrespectful. Not just to the blogger and her family, but also to everyone else who willingly read and follow her blog.
Please, have some respect for those around you and don’t troll. That’s not the venue for this.
Oh wow, I just read this, Janice. Those are some strong words. I am not sure which part made you feel like I am trying to look perfect and project this. And if it has ever come across like I tried to be such, please forgive me. However, I do think that some of your other statements are judgmental and of course, hurtful. You are entitled to your own opinion but I hope one day we can meet in person. We may not be so unlike one another deep down. Like you, I struggle as a mom and I want to be a good mom. And I don’t always have it together. That’s why I need Christ. What always encourages me is that as mothers, you and I don’t need to perform as moms to be loved by God. He takes us just as we are. But I also believe he is committed to helping us be the best version of ourselves. I don’t know what you have been through and what I have said in my articles to offend you. But like I said, I hope one day we can meet and sit down, and maybe you can even meet my kids and decide for yourself if they are really “neurotic and plain weird.” They are certainly not perfect. And you will see that. But I think neurotic and plain weird aren’t accurate either. Even if we never do get to meet, I just want you to know that I do care about you. That may sound surprising because you clearly don’t like me. But I don’t see you as an enemy. I truly don’t.
Oh wow this was the one i’ve been looking for 😄 You have such a humble heart and forgiving heart of yours, sis Joy! And your wisdom is like, wow! The glory of the God is in you! And for that when I grow up I wanna be like you eventhough I am already “big” grown up na😄 Thank you so much Joy! ❤️❤️❤️
you have such a humble and a forgiving heart, sis Joy!* The glory of God is in you!* (daming correction😄)
Praise God thank you. It’s all Him not me…I am not that humble. It’s a struggle…
Ikaw lang ang hindi nainspire te 😄 ako nga wala pang asawa at anak super inspired na sa kanya. Kilalanin mo kasi si Jesus nang malaman mo 😘
I needed to be reminded of this today Perfect timing. Thanks Joy! 🙂
Thank you for sharing. I can relate with your story and if we keep an open mind, we also learn from our children. The other day, I raised my voice because I was frustrated that my son still didn’t get the lesson even after giving him cue words or tips to remember the lesson. His reaction was almost the same as Tiana’s.Yesterday, while studying for an exam in another subject, he said, “Mama, no raising of voice today, okay?” That statement was an eye-opener for me. I realized that I have to try and choose my words and reaction. I remembered my early years learning with my mom and the memories of the negative emotions I felt when I was reprimanded .Children forgive but they do not forget.
Hi Joy, this is really an interesting guide and encouragement to us parents :). I am also guilty of losing my patience on Caleb’s review lessons. We really need to be spirit filled and remember that it takes more moments and hours to heal emotional wounds. 🙂 BTW, I really wanted to know how you manage your schedules on homeschooling, mom, wife, dgroups 🙂
I can relate to this Joy. As a mom, sometimes I do act and feel crazy. One time while tutoring my 12 year old son, i got impatient and frustrated why he couldn’t focus and get the lesson. I just blew it and said nasty words like “ang bobo mo naman! tanga-tanga mo! ” He got really sad and teary eyed. After I calmed down he quietly told me “mommy, i would rather you hit me than say those words to me.” My heart ached when He said that. I realized I could be a monster at times. You are right, as humans, we can be selfish, insensitive, vain, and proud; and only through the Holy Spirit do we become Christlike. I am still struggling.. but I am hopeful. By the grace of our Lord, we “crazy” moms can do it! 😊
hi my mom and dad used to do this to me.They would often say i’m stupid or the biggest achievement I would have in my life is just to finish college.One time I wanted to try the la salle entrance exam and my dad said i’s be wating money. It really stuck to me unti now that I’m an adult I can’t hold jobs for too long or I eaily get stressed or discouraged everytime I do something I often feel that I will fail or do somthing wrong.Verbal abuse can also scar you for life.Now that I have a daughter I really try to encourage her and speak to her lovingly.
Hi Joy! Thank you for sharing your failures and misgivings as a parent with us. I know it’s not easy to open up to strangers (esp when they have conflicting opinions), but you do it anyway. 🙂
Know that I am encouraged by your words even if I’m still single. I love how God uses both your failures and wins to draw people closer to Him. I appreciate you very much! 🙂
Thank you, Paula. Praise God. I appreciate you, too!!!
Hi Joy! Please don’t get discouraged by negativities rashly delivered to you, especially if they are drenched with ad hominem attacks. Just take the good from the criticism and learn from it as you always do. Many more are inspired by what you share with your blog posts. Thank you and God bless you!
Thank you, Len! 😊😘
Our Heavenly Father, thank you that you are our strength and reason why we could still be nice even to those who hurt us. Lord, you know the heart of JOY and her love for you that’s why she’s giving her best to lead a godly life. Thank you that you have used her and her family to model a character family that gives you glory. Thank you Lord that even if I grew up without my parents, You provided people who could mentor me from afar. It’s amazing how these people could make so much impact in my life even if they don’t know me. Lord, I have benefited so much from what they have shared and so I am doing the same– passing on what I know, encouraging others especially parents to seek You and pursue holiness as they lead their families.
Please strengthen the Tan-chi family, the Mendoza family that despite the attacks and painful insults, that they will not grow weary nor be silent in sharing their stories, sharing the lessons you have taught them. May you hug Joy and remind her that the battle is yours.
Lord, may you fill us moms or anyone reading Joy’s blog with love and truth from your Word. Fill us with the Holy Spirit that we may live a life that pleases you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Amen dear sister!:)
Thank you for this prayer! So encouraging:) God bless you, God bless all of us!
Wow!!!!!!:))))))) this is one article that spoke to me the most when I need it. I know our crazy not trusting in God side can come out sometimes. When I let go of my dependence on God and I am overwhelmed there are some crazy moments of too much emotional outburst that can hurt my family:( Thank you for being so open and honest by coming right out and saying these emotional outbursts are crazy. There is no excuse to ever hurt others but we still do and need forgiveness and to get up and try again by God’s grace. I will read this again and again to remind me if what I need to do in my life. I did not have this example growing up and I want my daughter to see I am not perfect but God still has His way in me. 🙂 Thank you for teaching Joy! I am growing:) Lots of love from Vienna. Praying for you!
Hi Joy! This is definitely an insightful reminder for all of us that we are not perfect, thus our need for Jesus, as our Savior. I only have one son but I feel that motherhood is discouraging at times, but I realized that I should not do it alone because I have Jesus who will guide me all the way. I praise God for your life, Joy. May you continue to be a blessing to others. ❤❤❤