Updated: Feb 17
Today’s Momfidence moment is brought to you by the letter “P”.
The Sesame Street reference sprang to mind as I thought about what I want to share with you today.
I am very blessed to have a treasured friend who I am in touch with almost every single day even though we live thousands of miles apart. We are very close and we tend to lean on each other when this mom thing gets tough. We encourage each other and pray for each other on the daily through so many ups and downs.
Over the years we’ve developed a shorthand reminder to encourage each other that I want to share with you as well. It’s the phrase “PRAYER and PROTEIN”.
This phrase has developed between us over the years as we began to realize that so many of our mothering struggles could be soothed by applying these two things to so many irritating situations.
“The kids are so whiny and uncooperative. They’re driving me nuts.”
“The kids are fighting with each other so much today!”
“After school pick up is such a grumpy time. I want us all to enjoy being together again, but it’s so unpleasant.”
“I’m just not in the mood to mom today.”
Comments like these, and so many others, would go back and forth between our daily text often. Then we began to see a common pattern. They happened mostly when one or all of us hadn’t had anything healthy to eat in a while, and they escalated when we tried to control it all in an attempt to demonstrate our dominant power over the obnoxious behavior coming from our kids, instead of prayerfully accessing the circumstances and asking for God’s grace and help.
But when we paused and gave everybody a healthy snack and a bit of time for the protein to kick in, everyone would begin to feel, act, and get along better. Sometimes the issue disappears completely. But if it doesn’t at least we feel better and are able to work it out with clearer heads.
Many of us as moms feel like we have to get our children under control when they aren’t behaving well and many times we end up not behaving so well in the attempt. Because when we as people (children or adults) don’t feel right we don’t act right. Sure there are many things that can cause us to not feel right, but the first and easiest step should be making sure everybody has had something healthy, that includes a protein, to eat before we try to look for other causes and correct behaviors and attitudes.
God himself gives us this model over and over again in the Bible.
Elijah grumbled to God that he was so miserable that he wanted to die. God gave him food and a chance to rest and Elijah felt better and was able to do as God asked.
The Israelites were grumbling in the desert so God fed them Manna.
Jesus fed people over and over and over again throughout his ministry because he knew that once people were fed they would feel well enough and calm enough to enter into relationship with him and be guided by him.
Jesus even made a breakfast of grilled fish for his disciples after his resurrection!
If God in all his perfect wisdom shows us how he took care of those he loved, why should we as imperfect moms mess with the system?
But, so often, we do. For instance, we tell ourselves that we don’t want our kids to “spoil their dinner” so we make them wait to eat and wonder why the dinner preparation time of the day becomes a nightmare. Yet a healthy afternoon snack could make that time far more pleasant because everyone is no longer “hangry”. If a healthy snack means they eat a smaller portion at dinner, we can be at peace and enjoy meal time together because they have already had healthy food.
Another example is when we use food as a reward for after completing something difficult. “You can have a snack after you finish your homework/clean your room/mow the lawn.” Then we wonder why we get a negative reaction, or the kids melt down in the middle of the task. Our minds often go to thoughts that our children are rebellious, disrespectful, or too strong willed. But they may just be running on empty and are out of balance because they haven’t had protein in awhile. Food shouldn’t be the reward at the end. It’s actually the fuel required beforehand that helps us do what we have to do.
I know a brilliant mom who, when one of her children comes to her in an emotional state with a complaint, will say, “Have a quesadilla and wait fifteen minutes. If you still feel this way we’ll talk about it then.” Ninety percent of the time the problem disappears.
Of course the other very important “P” is prayer. We as moms can often become reactionary to our children’s behavior. We can get cranky and angry and let our own pride drive away our wisdom. So it’s really important to take a moment and ask God to help us be the best mom we can be in that moment and for him to guide us and give us his wisdom in dealing with and discipling our (his) children.
While I’ve chosen to make this a habit throughout my day, I’ve found it really helps to do it with my children. A simple spontaneous prayer such as, “Lord we’re really in need of your grace and guidance right now. Some of us are cranky and irritable and aren’t behaving as we would like. Please show us what to do to make it better so we can love each other and you well, and so we can feel your love and our love for each other. Amen.” can be a real game changer in the midst of a difficult moment. God loves us so much and he really wants to help us. We just have to remember to ask and have an open heart to his guidance.
While of course not every problem is going to be solved with protein and prayer, these two things will help you be in a much better problem solving place then you would be without them. So the next time you find family members at odds with each other, have a protein filled snack, take a moment to ask for God’s help, and give yourselves a little time to feel better before you try to work things out.
Keep in mind the equation that my friend and I have discovered:
Protein + Prayer = Patience + Peace