Welcome to 31 Days of Hope for Moms! To see all the posts in the series, click here

Here we are, on day two of this series. Can I share a little confession? I wrote this post a long time ago. In fact, I already published something similar to it, two years ago when I first starting blogging.  

But you know what? The original post on this topic was actually the inspiration for this series. And this particular topic is one I struggle with now just like I did two years ago when I first shared my thoughts. By the comments I got on the first post, it is something others are dealing with as well. So moms, let’s talk about being “exasperating”. 

 
Hope for the exasperating mom - when you're the one who exasperates your children, there is forgiveness and the grace to improve!
What does the word “exasperate” mean? That was my question as I studied verse 4 of chapter 6 of Ephesians. Miriam Webster says this:

exasperate (verb)

to disturb the peace of mind of (someone) especially by repeated disagreeable acts (small children can exasperate their parents with endless questions about why this or that is so)

synonyms – aggravate, bother, bug, distress, gripe, put out

I looked again at the verse in question: Fathers {and mothers}, do not exasperate your children…

My children may exasperate me by their endless questions and repeated statements, that is simply their curious minds at work. I sigh when I am trying to get work done and they come to me with yet another small detail to share.

My young ones talk loudly, so loudly sometimes that I feel the need to yell over them to be heard. Maybe that’s why they speak in such high volume in the first place, because “someone” has “taught” them to do so.

Toward the end of the day, our child’s attention span is at its worst. They don’t complete tasks, they wander off and become absent-minded and I respond by shaking my head and muttering under my breath, sometimes when they are in earshot.

The way in which I aggravate, bother and gripe at my children has everlasting consequences. It takes very few words to “put out” my child and many more words to repair the damage done. 

As a mom, I am in charge, but that doesn’t always mean that I am fully informed about the situation. I don’t always use my best judgment when responding to a frustrating circumstance. 

There are days when I am impatient and unwilling to take the time to listen to my child’s explanation when I’d rather just correct the problem. Many times, I exasperate my children when I bug them about not doing something that they haven’t even been taught how to do! 

But even when we feel that we’ve failed as a mom, we can have hopebecause God does not leave us there!

 exasperate (antonyms) –  delight, gladden, comfort, reassure, soothe

 …..instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” 

Here is the encouragement, in the second half of verse four–that as moms we can gladden their hearts with the truths of God! Instruction isn’t always welcome, but in time, it yields “peaceable fruit” (Hebrews 12).

Hope for the Exasperating Mom

When we ask forgiveness, God gives us grace, time and time again, to respond to our children in a better way. When we spend time in God’s Word, the Spirit gives us the knowledge to teach to our children in such a way that leads them to an understanding of their need for a Savior. 

Our words of comfort and reassurance to our children (instead of impatient and snappy answers) show the love of Christ, the love that we desire our children to embrace for themselves.

It is not easy, but it is our calling. Thankfully we don’t have to go it alone.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely….He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

1 Thessalonians 5:23a, 24

Practical Help

Do you often find yourself being an “exasperating” mom? Do your children feel like the child in the photo above, upset because they aren’t sure how you want them to act or what you want them to do to make you happy? Here are two truths that have helped me in changing my ways {and believe me, it’s still a process, but I have come far by the grace of God.}

  1. Pray for the Holy Spirit to convict you every single time you exasperate your children. He will do it! You will feel the sting of your own sin, believe me :)
  2. When you feel that conviction, repent. Then arm yourself with verses that will help you respond graciously to your children {stay tuned for a free printable on Saturday’s post with some helpful verses for this situation!}
  3. Ask your husband, mom or a friend to keep you accountable. Talk to them about what you’ve been struggling with and then ask them to give you some sort of signal to help you take a step back.
  4. Close your eyes and count to 10 when you feel like you want to sigh at your kids, nag them or mutter discouragement. It really, really works.

Further reading: The Fulfilled Family, God’s Design by John MacArthur

How has God helped you to respond in better ways to your children so that you do not exasperate them? How can I pray for you in this? Please feel free to share in the comments!

photo credit: pixabay

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10 Comments on Hope for the Exasperating Mom

  1. Oh my, Jenn, This was me today. Some days I get to the end and wish my children had seen mores smiles, heard more encouragement, and seen more joy in Mom. I’ll go to bed with forgiveness from our faithful God and bright hope for tomorrow!

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