MOM Guest Post: For Crying Out Loud! by Julia Attaway

I am pleased to have another guest poster here at Acting Balanced, this time it's Julia Attaway, blogger, mom and editor of the recently released book, Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood!  Check out the giveaway currently going on for a copy of the book once you've read this charming guest post:
For Crying Out Loud!
Guest Post by Julia Attaway
Two-year old Elizabeth was having yet another purple-faced meltdown on a busy sidewalk. After twenty minutes of pretend-reading my magazine I glanced wearily at my hysterical child and wondered, What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to say? 
Not surprisingly, I didn’t have a clue. Okay, I prayed, Lord, give me the words...
And to my surprise, out they tumbled. “Elizabeth, I am so impressed with your energy,” I said with unusual cheer, “When you learn to channel all that determination into something good, you are going to grow into one amazing woman!”
Wait. Did I really say that? And if I did, why didn’t I have a bestselling parenting book? I glanced heavenward with awe, picked up my now-calmer daughter, and continued my pep talk.
It wasn’t until later that I realized I’d been given another unexpected lesson in parenting in response to prayer: pivot. Look for a different perspective. Find the grain of good in the situation, and run with it. And with more than a bit of gratitude I thought back on the other life lessons I’d acquired by asking heaven for help:
·        Do whatever you’ve been given to do as an act of love for God. Yes, even if all He’s asking of you right now is to change (yet another) diaper.

·        Laugh at your mistakes, instead of wallowing in them. Motherhood is an exercise in being stretched by new things; accept that you’re not going to do them all well at first.

·        Substitute perseverance for fear. If your first ten solutions don’t work, come up with ten more. Find ten people to ask for help. Google ten new ideas. You’ll grow as a mother as you become a more creative and resourceful problem solver.

·        Recognize that when you cry ‘I can’t take this!’ you might really mean ‘I don’t want to!’ Be honest about your frustrations. Are you at the edge of your comfort zone, or have you truly reached your limit? Is this a genuine crisis -- or merely a chance to grow in patience? It makes a difference.

·        Remember that logistics are puzzles, not problems. “How am I going to...” questions belong in the crossword-puzzle solving part of your brain, not the stress center. If you figure out how to get all that baby gear in the car, great. If you don’t, no one’s going to die (or even require stitches).

·        True humility is a virtueAsking for advice, help, or a break when you need it is called wisdom, not failure. Don’t let your pride box you in to a corner!

The good news? Elizabeth no longer has tantrums. At sixteen, she’s busy growing into the strong, determined young woman I glimpsed that day on the sidewalk. I still have plenty of parenting challenges that make me cry out in desperation. But at least I’ve learned the first place to turn for wisdom is prayer.  
Julia Attaway is a writer, homeschooler and mother to five. She recently edited Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a devotional for new moms. She blogs for Guideposts at Seeds of Devotion, and has a personal blog called LotsaLaundry.