As a Mom, What Do I Do When I Feel Tired and Hurt?
You give, give, and give. But the Bible provides a warning: “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9). A mother who does good toward her son day after day can grow weary and lose heart when she does not observe any fruitful reaping.
When her boy does not listen and willfully disobeys, he can wear her out on any given day.
When exhausted, she can let down her guard. She can let go of controlling her emotions. On top of this, if she is feeling horrible about herself, who cares? She lets it rip against her boy.
My wife, Sarah, adds that when a mother is not in tune with her feminine rhythm and her fatigue crosses with her premenstrual cycle, she can speak words that frighten hardened criminals. Her son is often in her crosshairs because he disregards her more than her daughter typically does. Also, unlike his sister who intuitively “gets” mom, he can conclude that mom has something against him as a person.
The remedy is that a mother must anticipate that at least once a month there is the potential of a meltdown that leads to a contemptuous tongue-lashing of her boy.
The challenge for a mother is that she doesn’t always see the factors contributing to her ire. Sarah urges mothers to prepare for this monthly Pre-Murder Syndrome. She wishes that early in her life she had better calendared her cycle. She did this later with our daughter Joy. That predictable stretch calls for preparation and special attention. When sailors prepare for the storm, they go through the storm more calmly.
A mom must not join that group of women who wish to deny this reality of PMS. Too much researched documentation confirms it. Sadly, because it suggests a female vulnerability, some resist allowing this to be a topic for discussion, especially when a man surfaces this topic. Some boo and hiss him!
All I can do is appeal to each mother to ask herself if this is true of her, and if so better prepare for this chemical roller coaster combined with weariness from doing good.
A woman has neurotransmitters inside her, including GABA and endorphins. When these chemicals fluctuate this altering triggers irritability, among other things. Most women experience this to some degree, though my mom told me that she never recalled PMS.
Interestingly, a mom may not associate her reaction to this change in chemical levels but associates her negativity to her son who she wishes to level! Truly, the boy is guilty. He has continued to do wrong over the month. However, for the three weeks preceding, mom—out of her virtuous love—accommodated her boy. She gave grace upon grace. But when her fatigue crossed with her fluctuations she no longer wished to extend grace. It was time for some law! She not only intended to put her foot down, she entertained putting her foot on her boy.
Please hear me.
Her faux pas is not in her complaint and criticism. The boy has transgressed and needs confrontation and correction. Her mistake is in not mastering the way she erupts and bursts forth with words of disgust. Because she does not prepare there is error. For this reason, she needs to get in tune with this cycle because (for some moms, not all) it is a recipe for disaster. She ends up delivering on a big platter the Disrespect Effect.
Is there any good news here? I believe in part God allowed this cycle in order for moms to speak the truth in love and respect to their boys. For much of the month, as I said, a mom can back away from the truth because she does not want to hurt her boy, and believes if she just loves her boy he’ll appreciate what she is doing and obey her. A mom can offset her negativity with thoughts of love and empathy. Unfortunately, a boy can take advantage of mom’s kindness. The boy becomes more and more selfish. It is as though God intended for a mom to experience these chemical fluctuations to embolden her to confront her boy. P.M.S means Prevent Masculine Sin.
But every strength has a backside weakness. God calls her to act but she overreacts. Having kept the truth about her son bottled up for most of the month, the valve blows. This happens because she does not anticipate this period. She does not prepare to funnel the intense truth about him through the tunnel of love and respect. She needs to envelope her words with respect.
I urge moms to speak like this:
“Look, I am hurt and mad. I am deeply disappointed in what has happened here. But let’s make sure you understand that I am not trying to be disrespectful to you. I am not using this issue as an opportunity to send you a message that I don’t have any respect for you. I am reacting because I believe in the honorable man God intends for you to be. I do not respect what you did, but that differs from my belief in you and the respect I feel for the man I envision you will become.”
What then is the answer to the question, “When I feel tired and hurt, what do I do then?”
Recognize that when your exhaustion and grief crosses with the menstrual cycle, a ton of negative emotion will hotly bubble, even feeling like a volcano ready to explode. Because of this reality, a mom needs to prepare for such moments. But she needs to prepare by committing to speaking the truth about her son in a way that sounds respectful. She must determine to let Respect-Talk guide and guard against spewing out words of contempt. Preparing to speak this way and then speaking this way prevents her from stepping over the line into rudeness and disdain to make her necessary point.
TODAY’S ACTION ITEM: When tired and hurt I will see this as a possible opportunity to speak the truth respectfully, especially if I have been too accommodating much of the month, but I must prepare for these moments.
This post was taken from the Respect Talk Quick Start Guide, available to anyone who purchases Mother & Son: The Respect Effect.