My Heart is Not a Complaint Box

Tonight I spoke with another mom. She was facing a difficult time with her son and she was venting because MAMAS NEED FRIENDS. Being a mom can be lonely sometimes and we cannot fall prey to isolation.

She shared that sometimes her son is extra hard on her, very critical, and hurts her feelings. Now, let me give you some backstory (I just felt my husband roll his eyes). This mom works hard and works full-time.

She’s at every game and every practice. She cooks the meals and packs the lunches. This mom has the duties of both a working mom and a stay-at-home mom (most of us can relate). This mama pours every part of her into being a parent and a dang good one at that.

Like some cases, she is a single mom. Her coparent is often absent and does not share in the workload, which puts even more weight on her shoulders. Her son turns a blind eye, or perhaps just a quiet mouth, to his father’s negligence, but berates his mother for leaving practice early to cook his dinner.

She expressed so much hurt and I felt that with her. I know the kids in my home have said some hurtful things to their parents. I can relate to that pain especially when you’re giving it all you’ve got. This mama even asked me if she was being stupid or petty!

Nope! Mamas are incredible creatures. We are resilient. We get punched and come back, open-armed, for more. We cheer in the stands and we rally when our children need support. We give every drop of us to the recipe that is our family.

Mamas know the names of their children’s friends and best believe we know who the meanies are at school. We have played with toy soldiers and imaginary friends. We have watched the same movie 1,000 times because it is their favorite.

We are Let me brag on us. Our kids know that when we say they will go to the beach on the weekend, we are going. They know if we say a week without television, that is 7 whole days without screen time. Our word is gold.

So why in the world do they sometimes lash out? Why are they sometimes so critical? What can I tell this amazing mother who is struggling to see her own worth right now?

I can tell you this: I have no idea and I am totally winging it. I don’t have the answers and I’m certainly not the poster child for perfect motherhood. This is what I do know: YOU, MAMA, ARE ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE.

Want to know why our kids hold us to such high expectations? Because most days we knock them out of the park. We are showing our children what love, service, and devotion look like.

Disrespectful attitudes are not ok, but, let’s face it, it is all part of the job. Sometimes children lash out because they are trying to get their basic needs met. Sometimes children lash out for our reaction.

Those critical remarks and complaints can pull us in like the tide, but they do not have to. I have seen my children complain or criticize because of their own anxiety. The situation is often diffused when I don’t allow my own anxiety to join the conversation.

Sometimes children can be critical because of their own self-esteem issues. What if we change the way they see things? I’m going to challenge the next little complainer in my house to hit me with 5 things they are grateful for.

I remind the kids that words cannot be taken back and have power. I ask them if they really meant that and if they would like to try again. Most of the time, they do.

When things take a turn toward Negative Town with the kids, I recall my own dialogue and demeanor. Are they mimicking me? Have I related to how THEY feel and taken myself out of the equation long enough for them to know I care and I am listening?

Sure, those are practical things to consider or to put into practice, but do those things take away the sting of our children’s criticism? No. Let me use an example of juvenile hatefulness.

My Nana and Pop are equally treasured in my heart. They are so dear. When I was very young, my Pop (a known teller of tall tales) told me that my Nana had “snatched him bald-headed”. I was very upset.

My sweet Nana, completely unaware, motioned for me to sit with her. I looked that precious soul in her eyes and said, “I hate you. Don’t even look at me.”


Did I or do I hate my Nana? Of course not! My childish reaction to a strong emotion caused me to lash out. Now rewatch the last scene of your child’s critique and complaint. Do you think what they said was true? (I am shaking my head)

Give yourself a break, Mama. You’re crushing it and raising kids is HARD. Correct the behavior, but most importantly, find out where it comes from. Healing is possible and who better to nurture a child than their parent?

You have the best, worst job ever. You have the most incredible and seemingly impossible love that only you can give. You have a God that can restore and renew.

He can reassure and rejuvenate. Empty that complaint box in your heart. It is renting space there for free. Time to purge. Be refreshed. Start over.

You are enough. Your children love you. If you get nothing else out of this post, take that to the bank. That is a mom’s word and, remember, that is gold. 😉

Lamentations 3:22-23

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

8 thoughts on “My Heart is Not a Complaint Box

  1. Hillary says:

    Yes, we have “the best, worst job ever”, but we are enough for our children by God’s grace. This was an awesome, encouraging post, for all mothers question their ability to do this amazing and oh so difficult job at one point or another. Thank you!

  2. mamedogo says:

    I know what you are talking about! We are our kids’ greatest cheerleaders but they come at us the hardest. It can be rough going sometimes but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Awesome that you were able to be there for that mother. Trust me, we all need reassurances from time to time. Great piece, thanks!

  3. The In-between Mom says:

    Yes! Sometimes as a mom you do feel extremely under appreciated. But I believe if we keep going, fueled with love and grace, we will see the fruit one day. And what a glorious day it will be!

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