It took all the self-control I could muster to contain myself. If my husband hadn’t been there, insisting that I hold my tongue, I would’ve unloaded uninvited counsel. He and I were spending a day together just kicking around at antique shops and flea markets. It was one of those rare laid-back days where you hit the road without an agenda and see where you end up. We were just enjoying being together.
We were at our first stop, rummaging through a stack of old books when I heard it—the loud obnoxious bellowing of a no-joy mom. She had an irritating, high volume, with an enormous amount of verbiage continually streaming and it filled the entire store.
Angry words the whole time. Non-stop. I’m not kidding.
“No! Don’t touch that! No, you aren’t allowed to play with play-dough it’s too messy! No! No! Do you want me to take you to the bathroom and straighten you out? No, you can’t pick that up!”
I begged my husband to let me say something. “Please, can I just tell her that he’s only a little guy and boys like to play? Can’t I tell her I’d love to have time with my little guy again but he’s all grown up now? Can’t I ask her why she sounds so mad when she talks to him?”
He never relented. His quiet “No” sounded nothing like hers, but he was firm. I tried to explain to him that if I sounded like that as a young mom, it would’ve been a good thing to get a rebuke. His “No” never wavered and he grabbed my hand to keep me close.
I remember a wise woman once telling me as a young mom to try to say “Yes” (with a smile) to my children more times through the day than “No!” Believe me, I’m all for training your children and I know they need to behave . . . but an over-controlling-no-joy mom will not produce happy-hearted-obedient children.
[box]“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)[/box]
Every mom has a bad day now and then, but I want to challenge you to consider whether your children would describe you as a no-joy mom or would they say you’re the mom who laughs most and loves best. That doesn’t mean you let them do whatever they want, but you find creative ways to fill your day with plenty of “yeses” and you remember that play-dough was made for kids.
And just for the record no-joy mom—I’d love to clean up your little guy’s play-dough mess if you’d bring him by our house for the day. We miss our little guy’s messes.