By Jaclyn Weidner
“She’s driving me crazy!”
“Did I tell you what he did the other day?”
“Well it’s not as bad as that time she…”
Sometimes the one-upping I hear from mothers isn’t about how great their little miss did in their dance competition, but rather how much their child is driving them crazy. And I will be the first to admit I have jumped on that bandwagon more than once.
It can feel strange to be sitting in a group of women and hear each one complain about their child and not join in. It’s like listening to women gossip. You feel uncomfortable with the flow of the conversation, but it feels strange to say something positive when the overall tone is negative. And, at least in my neck of the woods, complaining about your life or your kids seems pretty common, accepted, and even expected.
And even though I would see these picture-perfect families pop up on my social media feeds, I began to notice an abundance of negative memes. Don’t get me wrong, many are extremely hilarious as they have a way of perfectly expressing #momlife, but it seems our current culture is one that expects and promotes complaining and negativity.
And I don’t think it’s because we’re all awful people. I think, for myself anyways, it had just become a habit. And because everyone around me was doing it, I didn’t really think twice.
I shared in Part 1 that God has been taking me on a journey that included stripping away complaining from my life. I have to say, even though I found this to be an incredibly freeing process, I somehow didn’t even realize how often I was complaining about my kids.
And complaining in many ways felt good. I can’t say for sure why, but I think it is because each moment I complained about my kids felt deserved.It was as if somehow releasing this complaint validated how difficult my life was. It made up for any shortcomings I had personally because this little person was challenging.
I would unload on my husband as he walked through the door after a particularly difficult afternoon. I wouldn’t even think twice about the little ears listening to me re-play their mistakes and low moments of the day.
But then there was an aha moment. Was it really helpful to re-hash their shortcomings in front of them?
Yes, our kids can drive us bananas. And yes, we wish for moments of silence and would love to use the bathroom uninterrupted. But is anything gained from complaining about them whether they are present or not?
Complaining about them creates an Us VS Them dynamic in my heart.They become the enemy. The thing I am trying to conquer and defeat. And when I view them that way in my head and in my heart, it’s much more difficult to create the solutions we need to move forward.
And I have learned there is still a way to express that you are going through a challenging situation without full-on complaining. I discovered I could text my husband, “We have had a difficult afternoon - I can explain later,” if I wanted him to know anything before walking in the door. Learning to express that something is difficult without complaining has felt like learning a new language. I can still share with friends that one of my children is going through a challenging season. Sometimes the key is simply knowing why I am wanting to complain. Am I trying to feel better? Am I wanting someone to commiserate with or feel sorry for me?
Complaining is a tough one to let go of. Especially because there is always a good reason. We often complain when we feel we have a “right to.” Places where life is a little more difficult. The problem with this mindset is that it is always easy to justify complaining. And we often complain in a ‘one off’ situation. A situation out of the blue. A time where we feel overwhelmed or stressed and our venting is validated.
But the thing that has helped change my complaining ways the most is if I actually want to change - then I actually have to change. I can’t let my “very good reasons” keep me stuck doing something because I have a “right to,” because it feels good, or because it is a one-time moment. I have to just stop. Because when I do - everything shifts. Negative to positive.
“For what you plant will always be the very thing you harvest.” Galatians 6:7 TPT
Let us be women who sow with our words what we want to see in our children.
Jaclyn is a part-time high school teacher, and full-time mom to 3 energetic and talkative little girls. She loves to dive deep in conversationto get to the good stuff. In the words of her 4 year old she’s “just a little bit funny”. Her and her husband Brendan live just outside of Vancouver, Canada. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook.