...and then came joy

Thank you Pamela Schneider for vulnerably sharing your experience at MomCon and how it has affected your parenting for the better.
What I didn't mention during the MOPs "sharing time" about the MomCon in Louisville was what I really brought home with me. I brought joy back home.

Although, I really wanted to be a part of the workshop "When Your Anger Scares You", I missed it. And rather than getting angry, I became sad. Because I know myself pretty well, I saw the sadness coming on strong. I could have missed out on so much more. I didn't have time for that, no way. I already lost a day and a half. I couldn't believe the one weekend I was looking forward to so much was being wiped away. The sadness was ripping me apart, really.

So I thought to myself, "Pam, when you want your kids to stop doing something they ought not to be doing you tell them what you prefer they do, not what you don't want them to do." 

Kids do better when they feel better, right? So I said back to myself, "Pam, no more sadness; get a grip & pick another workshop. You'll find something there to lift you back up." 

I chose "How's Life Working For You?" I walked away from that message that as moms, wives, sisters, friends and women we need to know our limits, know our boundaries and ask for help, always ask for help no matter great or small. Saying no to others is highly recommended for the sake of sanity. And above all if something isn't working, or you are still on that same plateau reach out!

See ladies, my life hadn't been working for me. My life had felt pretty broken since April of 2013. I said to my husband and to my BFF one afternoon, "I'm just so tired of being angry." 

My anger was not necessarily always at or about my kids. It was about life around me which in turn threw itself up on my offspring. There were days when my daughter would ask me, "Mommy, are you going to be happy today or sad today?" Heart broken.

Granted, life had thrown me five too many curve balls in 2013. And I wasn't handling them well at all. At least not in the way I knew I could. I am not an angry person. My nature, my character, is not of anger. I don't recall myself "flipping my lid"** as much as I had since I became a mom. It was all too scary for me. 

I often wondered if I didn't like me, how could my kids like me? I began to wonder, "If I'm angry, will my kids just be little angry kids?" Who wants that? We'd be a family with all our "lids flipped".

Motherhood was not going as I had thought it was supposed to be going. It was looking and feeling so different than I had ever imagined. I was tired of just surviving, I wanted to be thriving. How was I ever going to regain my grip on life and figure this out? I kept saying "who thought two year olds were a good idea?" Then I met my three year olds and now I started thinking, "Am I being punked? Clearly this can't be real, who would choose to live with three year olds?" 

I started doubting my ability to be a mom. Why can't I get this right? Why does every day have to be full of anger and yelling? Why doesn't anyone talk about the hard parts, the dark moments, the pain of being a mom?

...and then came joy. 

I made it to the rest of the workshops, I worshiped in the beautiful music, I laughed with my new friends, Kristin, Maria, Rebekah and Marcia (thank you!). And stayed up all night talking with my college friend. This all felt real and genuine and freeing. Joy was peeking in.
When the conference ended I went to The Wild Egg for brunch. I told my friend, "I need to change
my outlook and my approach with my kids and myself. I need to get a grip and take back my life the way I know it and give my kids my very best, give them the mom they truly, truly deserve, the mom I want to be, the mom I was intended to be."

Let me say this loud and clear, all of my doubts didn't make me a bad mom or didn't diminish my love for my kids. I heated them out on some moments possibly, but I didn't neglect them

...here comes the joy.

I love our Lord, I get real with him. He knows me. I said to him, "show me a better way, change
my heart; break my heart of the things that break yours." He surprised me with joy. 

It all came in a way I couldn't have predicted. He led me to a woman who has become like a "parenting coach". (Still sounds so weird to say). She has become a blessing in a way to me that I can only describe like this:
Picture yourself at your computer screen and you can't get a document to cooperate on the computer like you want or had anticipated it to work. And then someone comes alongside of you and stands behind you or next to you; glances over your shoulder and suggests something to do or doesn't even have to say a word, and then voilĂ ! Your problem found a solution and it works; even though you swear you tried this and that. It took a third-party, someone on the outside looking in to stand alongside you to guide you in the direction you want to go. 
My "coach" has opened my eyes to new ways to handle the situations with my children that otherwise would drive me batty; a new perspective. I am seeing the positive. I see the life lessons my kids are learning and practicing. They are learning to confront confrontation without screaming and yelling (for the most part). Now my kids and I talk or hug out our feuds or squabbles. 

When once I might have said, "hurry up", "get in here" "stop that." My responses become a song or a dance in some situations to get the end result I'm looking for. And you know what? It works. I'm not yelling. They aren't yelling.

Kids do better, when they feel better. Right? I know I sure do.

..and then joy came home, and pulled up a chair. She's sticking around.

**Dr. Dan Siegel, author

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