crazy face
crazy face,
originally uploaded by marniduffy.
In the middle of the night I couldn't fall asleep. I kept thinking about my often preposterous mothering skills. I feel like God has graced me with a pretty challenging 2 year old (well, she's been challenging since birth). I think most people have challenging 2 year olds.
I have been struggling with disciplining her. I am reading a book called 'Shepherding a Child's Heart' by Tedd Tripp. He talks about discipline that honors God and helps a child align their heart with God's heart. Pretty much, addressing the heart and not just the behavior.
Most of the time with Sage, I feel like I am acting out of STOP. Whether it's hurting Fern, running away, screaming too loudly, spilling, having an accident on the floor, biting, pushing, grabbing. Then I get so upset that it's hard for me to then follow up with a calm talk about "why". Plus, I feel clueless about what to say that she'll actually HEAR.
This leaves me feeling frustrated with myself and her, and like a failure in some ways. Then I feel like I am helpless, that I'll never get it "right", and I forget that I am supposed to be asking God for forgiveness and HELP!
Mothering is so hard. Amen?


  1. Marni,
    I think that you are doing a great job. You really are Marni. It seems like having a toddler figure out how to align her heart with God's heart is an impossible task. (Although beautiful to think about.) They don't know. They are discovering themselves, not their spirituality. But, showing our children grace, like God shows us, is teaching our children the character of God. That is not impossible.
    I remember you told me a couple weeks ago that when you were more relaxed they girls were more relaxed. You know that doesn't mean not to discipline them, but remember God's grace for you as well.

  2. it's definitely a balance. our man is only 16 months, but I also get caught up in the "stop". I think there are lots of valuable perspectives out there, unfortunately your relationship with Sage will always be unique, and I guess that's maybe the tricky part? Navigating that relationship and figuring out where discipline fits into it - and what it will look like for her. This is kind of silly, but when Sullivan gets mad and I can feel myself getting mad, I'll sit with him and take 5 deep breaths in and out - telling him what I'm doing to calm down. It's too easy to respond in the middle of the mess. Plus, it's okay and probably valuable to let our kids know that we're human and we get mad and have ways to calm ourselves before dealing with the aftermath. Of course, it's much more simple (the practicality of it) with one kid - there's not someone else who is crying because they were hit, or needs attention while you need to worry about cleaning up and disciplining all at the same time - I'm feeling kind of stressed out just writing it all down.
    Anyway - Grace. For you and Sage.

  3. Sigh---how could I not post a comment here? The sigh really says it all. I've read some helpful books. But they mean NOTHING if I lean not on my Father. Seriously. I can go to every seminar, read every book, but if I am not right within me, the day is shot (except for His mercy which happens every day, thankfully). So... practically? Disciplining a 2 year old? It's just hard. I hated twos. One word: exasperating. Loved it some moments, but it was the toughest thing I've ever done. I found it such a challenge to remove my emotions from the circumstance. Calm, consistency, over time, the fruit comes I suppose. I'm seeing fruit some days in my son now, but it took awhile. And then we'll have a day from hell the next. It drives me to knees like nothing ever has. So many tears. I like what LM and SM said. I've found it extremely helpful to just label the emotions as they come. Levi, you're frustrated, you're sad, you're angry, you're jealous, you're lonely, you're excited, you're thankful, you're content, you're not content.... on and on... and I have seen this vocabulary roll off of Levi's tongue to my amazement. The cries and whines are becoming vocabulary which is, to me, a HUGE first step in living in this world. Seeing his own heart and wanting to take it to me in his words. We talk a lot about soft heart, hard heart. When he has a hard heart (it's helpful to show him his face or I'll mimic his face---which sometimes makes him doubly angry). And then I'll show him what a soft heart looks like. Okay, well, if you're looking for a practical book that sort of puts some feet and hands to "shepherding", maybe try "don't make me count to 3". I don't agree with everything in it, but a lot of good stories and practical application. She uses principles from Tripp's book. It was helpful. But I hated the title. Anyways... thanks for posting Marni, always good to read some fresh, honest goodness here. BTW, did Sage start preschool yet? Weren't you thinking about it?