What Makes Me a Bad Mom

I lost my patience while homeschooling last week. It was one of those moments when I got frustrated about my daughter’s math again. I am ashamed to admit that this wasn’t the first time. If you have followed this blog, you know that my irritation was sparked before, in a very horrid way, over math with this same daughter.

Although she has made great strides in the last year, for some reason, she blanked out when we reviewed rounding numbers to the nearest tenth and hundreds place (something we had been covering for the last two weeks).

My husband, Edric, came to my rescue. He listened to how distressed I was as I explained to him what happened. Of course, he wasn’t happy with the way I responded and corrected me, which I received. He was right. I had to apologize to my daughter and humble myself to ask for her forgiveness. When he sought her out, she was curled up on her bed, tearing.

The image of her in this position, trying to process her hurt made me feel like I was a bad mom. And I was! There was no other way to put it. I treated her unkindly by mouthing out negative comments, by contorting my facial expressions to signify disappointment, by leaving her in exasperation to go to my room because I needed to have a “time-out” to avoid an outburst. Even without shouting, the damage was enough to inflict emotional pain on her. She felt inferior and incapable.

To help me out, and to minister to our daughter, Edric took over her math lesson very patiently and ably. She actually had fun. She also remembered the concepts better with him because he approached these in a relax and non-threatening manner, components that I lacked when I was overcome by my irritation.

Whenever I make the mistake of getting upset with my kids about their homeschool work, it’s discouraging. I wonder if I will damage them emotionally (and spiritually), if my reactiveness will affect their ability to progress in a positive way as the try to learn new concepts and skills. And the answer is, yes, of course! Anger will damage my kids…anger that happens repeatedly and frequently. So I can’t let my carnal self take over. Sure, there will be moments when I get upset, but these CANNOT EVER BE HABITUAL if they happen at all.

In a book I’m presently reading called Awe by Paul David Tripp, he writes, “At a deep and often unnoticed level, sin replaces worship of God with worship of self. It replaces submission with self-rule. It replaces gratitude with demands for more. It replaces faith with self-reliance. It replaces daily joy with horizontal envy. It replaces a rest in God’s sovereignty with a quest for personal control. We live for our glory. We set up our rules. We ask others to serve our agenda. We curse whatever gets in our way. We hate having to wait. We get upset when we have to go without. We strike back when we think we have been wronged. We do all we can to satisfy our cravings. We think too much about our own pleasure. We envy those who have what we think we deserve. We pout when we think we have been overlooked. We hate suffering of any kind. We manipulate others for our own good. We are obsessed about what is best for us. We demand more than we serve, and we take more than we give. We long to be first and hate being last. We are all too concerned with being right, being noticed, and being affirmed. We find it easier to judge those who have offended us than to forgive them. We require life to be predictable, satisfying, and easy. We do all the things because we are full of ourselves, in awe more of ourselves than of God…When we replace vertical awe of God with awe of self, bad things happen in the horizontal community.”

The main point of Tripp’s book is that losing sight of who God is and our awe of Him corrupts what we think, say, and do. It makes us selfish and self-centered. This is so true in my parenting. This is why 2 Corinthians 5:15 tells us that “Christ died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

I can’t be so full of myself that I forget that I must be full of Christ, that I must elevate Him above all things in my life, especially when I’m homeschooling my kids, which tends to be the circumstance that triggers that default tendency towards self-centeredness.

By God’s grace, my daughter and I have had happy homeschooling days since this incident. I just need to be mindful that she is more precious to the Lord, to me, than her academic performance is. It’s no accident that she may be more challenging to teach in certain areas. This is one of God’s way of dealing with my own expectations and weeding out what is bad in my own heart.

Edric also reminded me…this daughter of ours is such a joyful, sweet, and gifted person in many other ways. Math may not be her strongest subject area, but she is beautiful and wonderful just the way she is.

Amen. Let me not forget to celebrate each of my children’s unique personalities and strengths! Each one of them is a precious gift from the Lord, to steward, to hold dear, and to love unconditionally, NOT to wound or to damage with my selfishness.

To all the women out there who have messed up like me, there is grace. God’s grace allows repentance, reconciliation, and redemption. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews‬ ‭4:16‬)

8 thoughts on “What Makes Me a Bad Mom

  1. Not all kids are suitable for home schooling. And not all children are good in Math too. Just have to accept the fact and move on. God has given us special gifts and we need to encourage them to use it for God’s kingdom.

  2. Amen! This just happened to me and my daughter during her Math this morning. The struggle is very real 🙂
    But truly enough, only the grace of God can help us to abound. God bless you Ms. Joy and your indefatigable passion to serve God through your family.

  3. I work with similar aged kids and rounding does stump some of them. We use a rhyme for deciding whether to round up or down. “Five or above, give it a shove. Four and below, let it go”! It really helps them!

  4. Thank you Joy for always being an inspiration to all the women and families who experience all these challenges. Praise God for using you and your family to teach and share how to reset and ask mercy from our perfect and loving God. Im always following your blogs and I always learn a lot and gets reminded of how much we need Jesus 24/7 in our everyday lives. God bless you and your family and congratulations to your new baby. We are neighbors and got to be aquainted one time in 2017 2b1 in Baguio. I remembered your due date and prayed for your safe delivery when we were abroad. Praise and glory to God for His faithfulness in your family.

  5. I was so convicted when you said that kids are God’s gift to us, that we cannot hurt and damage them because of our selfishness. I have a quick temper and an acid tongue, and my girls are usually on the receiving end whenever they displease me. Your blog is such a good reminder. I need to learn to correct in a constructive way and not to overreact over small offenses.

  6. Help! How do I have more patience in teaching my daughter? I’ve just resigned from my job 2 months ago so I can focus more on her development, she’s turning 4 this July. I have outbursts of annoyance and impatience with her at times when she does not get some instructions, yet she is so sweet and forgiving and gives me a kiss so that ‘mommy no more angry’. 😥 I feel I have scarred her previously coz her teachers have told me that whenever she hears a stern voice, she would cry because she thinks they’re angry. How can I fix my mistakes?

  7. I needed to read this today. Thank you for sharing so openly. And I thank the Lord for directing me to your blog at the right time. I was randomly going through my old bookmarks and I stumbled across one of your blog posts and eventually landed on this page. Then I remember nothing is ever “random” with the Lord.

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