About the Author

Lisa-Jo is the best-selling author of Never Unfriended and Surprised by Motherhood. Her newest book, The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You invites us to get a good look at our middles and gives us permission to embrace them.

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  1. Wow! Did I need that. I am the MeeMee now, but watch at least 2, sometimes 4or 5 of my grandkids daily. I have reverted to the me of 25 years ago. Lol thanks for the reminder.

  2. Lisa-Jo,
    I will have to check out your temper toolkit (where were you almost 30 years ago when I needed you?). Maybe one day I’ll be like Dodee and get to have a “do over”. I remember, when my kids were little, thinking I had a buzzer on my behind – that anytime I ever sat down, even for two seconds, the buzzer would go off and someone would scream, “MOM!!!”. There were days I wanted to change my name. I didn’t want to be “Mom”. I don’t naturally have a wicked temper, but you are so right in saying that the challenges of motherhood (combined with sleep deprivation and pure exhaustion) will eventually bring out the worst in us. I remember times I would lie in bed after a particularly difficult day and I’d pray,”Lord, save my children from me.” I’d pray earnestly for more patience and the wisdom for how to pick my fights. Thank goodness His mercies are new every morning. I also learned how to ask forgiveness from my children when I behaved badly. Maybe I taught them a lesson in mercy?? I hope so…Such a poignant post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  3. Lisa-Jo,

    Your post has given me more hope than you know. Thank you for this timely piece…*so* beautifully written! And I will check out your temper toolkit so I can learn to no longer be “unhinged” by my own limitations and this crazy craft we call parenting. 🙂
    Bless you!
    Francesca

  4. Thank you for going first in this conversation. My littles are all teens and up now, but I remember the struggle, and also the shame that went with it. Saying it, asking for help, knowing that you are not alone — there is so much help just in this.

    • My “littles” are now 38 and 41 y/o, yet Lisa Jo’s words bless me so. I’m a devoted fan of your writing, your words and your heart, seeking to be more like you. The scenes you describe were me, from feeling the rage of my father to shrieking at my kids for being kids. While Christ has changed me into the mother I need and want to be now, I carry heavy guilt for my failures when my children needed me to be that mother then. Just knowing this is not just me who responded wrongly allows me to breathe in grace for myself. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for this, Lisa-Jo. I spent four hours coaxing my three-year-old to poop on the potty. He did it, but there were a lot of struggles along the way. I appreciate your honesty and the space for me to say “me too.”

  6. “I will remember to eat. To treat myself with the same care I’d treat an explosive device and disarm with regular rest, exercise, food, and friendship.” Love the imagery! And it’s not selfish to do so, because it shows we’re leaving control in God’s hands and using our energy for what we CAN control (ourselves). Thank you, Lisa-Jo!

  7. This is the best, most useful blog article I’ve read in a long time! Thank you for your vulnerability and being real! So many of us need to hear these words! I certainly know this mama did!

  8. Just what a Mom of 3 under 8 yrs old needed -Thank you for reminding me that I’m not the only warrior on the front line of battles with tempers!

  9. Lisa-Jo,
    Oh thank you for this. I will be a first time “Granny ” sometime this month. My grandson is due February 21, and I am waiting eagerly for his birth. There were a few times of temper with my 2, thirty something girls, but it has been forgotten as we wait for our bundle of joy.
    Mary

  10. THANK YOU for this post! I feel so guilty when I lose my marbles with my four-year-old. She is such a forgiving little soul, and sometimes I have to sit back and take a deep breath. Everyone glorifies motherhood, and it’s not until you are a mother that you discover all the not-so-great aspects of it that have been hidden.

  11. Thank you God for your unending Grace and thank you Lisa for this honest post! I’ve carried around guilt and shame for 5 years. Ever since my son was born it’s been difficult. He wouldn’t fed,sleep and cried alot. I lost my temper plenty of times. I’ve felt like #1 worst mom. Now he’s in Kindergarten and we are going through the Autism assessment process. Everyday is a battle. I still have many questions like what did I do wrong Lord? If you Lord entrusted me with Dresden why does it seem like I’m failing him and you? Lately I’ve been clinging onto Psalm 46:1, God an ever present help in trouble. It’s time for me to give God my guilt and shame and embrace His grace.

  12. This is so beautiful to read. As a grandmother at this point in my life, I want to encourage all of you moms to learn to laugh at all those days when you feel like your head is spinning and you just need another adult to talk to. Those things your little ones have done or are in the process of doing, can actually be such good memories down the road. Like all of us, I wasn’t the perfect mom, but I loved being a mom. My son is grown now, and the joy I have is thinking back on all those times when it seemed so hard, but allowing God to help me through. I now get to love and enjoy my two grandsons. What a blessing.

  13. You are friend with a superhero cape on today!! Thank you for the brave heart work of starting this conversation and offering hope to all us mamas from the most raw, vulnerable places of your story. Cheering, praying and nodding my head, amen! love you LJ!!

  14. This is wisdom, what I’ve been writing about in January. having worked with children, mostly good ones, because I taught them about Jesus from an early age, and we had a few moments of temper. But when my mother took custody of a great niece and nephew, it was another story. We really didn’t know anything about drug abuse and the lifestyle that affected this toddler and baby. Your friend was absolutely right, you can’t parent with a fireball temper. You have to pick your battles. Walk away if you have to. Don’t discipline when you’re angry. In spite of ongoing challenges I still encourage people to foster or adopt, if you can. There is such a need. Just keep sowing the love of Jesus and weed out the bad behavior. These children don’t know what real love is, and sometimes, even we as believers are longing for God, He did not leave us orphans, let Him garden your heart. Oh, yes, hide your make up. It never came off the pillow it was poured on. The other day, I demanded it back, when it was smeared on the sofa. ” I don’t care who took it, I want it on my desk. ” It wasn’t, but a couple of days later days later I open the drawer and there it is. I hope it was returned, surely, I wasn’t so frazzled as to put it there. You’ve got to laugh, and cry if you need too. God understands.

  15. I’ve been amazed how my children have practiced grace on ME. I made so many mistakes as a mom, but in spite of my failures I now enjoy three grown children who are friends, not just relatives. One time I nervously asked our third child, then in his early twenties, to rate his childhood on a scale of 1-10, one being absolutely horrible and ten being over-the-top terrific. I was hoping he’d say at least seven, but I was doubtful. Imagine my surprise to hear him emphatically shoot back, “Eleven!” Praise God for blessing our little ones with resiliency, forgetfulness (!), and yes, grace.

  16. You are so right. Mothering shows me the temper I never thought I had. The joke is red heads have a terrible temper, and I was reminded of this many times growing up. But between my blond haired sister and me, it was obvious that she had the biggest temper. No contest there. I barely had a temper, or so I thought. Enter kids. Ouch. thanks for being honest with us and encouraging us moms. We need to hear the truth, and then pass out a big dose of forgiveness and grace to ourrself and our kids. Because you know what? Jesus is not surprised mothers have a temper. Not at all. And he is there for us. And what better way to show our kids humility and how to act when they mess up, than to admit we messed up and ask their forgiveness. Then like you said, laugh and have fun with them.

    • SO agree Theresa – I have a whole session in the Temper Toolkit unpacking all the scriptures that clearly show anger is one of God’s emotions — and it’s what we do with that anger that makes all the difference.

  17. Tears. Of relief? Joy? I think-peace. Peace that can hit us Moms deep down as the forgiveness of God is lavished on us in this battle against our flesh and through the vulnerability of this post. BLESS YOU. And thank you for writing it down. 🙂

  18. Lisa-Jo~oh how I wished I had read your post 30 years ago. Due to my own insecurities of trying and striving for perfection I would fly off the handle pouring poison on my own. The looks in their eyes. Makes me sad. Kids will magnify any type of insecurities in a soul. God has changed that insecure young mom and has grown a women of purpose for Him. Now I can love and help grow my two beautiful grandgirlies with a tamed temper from Christ. The true Ring Master. Thank you for sharing encouragement and truth. Michele

  19. Yes yes I relate. I thought I was doing good – growing as a good Christian should –
    Until my kids came along and then I found the anger spewing out- anger at the interruptions and the crying – anger st the constant baby questions and had to ask Dear God what’s wrong with me? Am I the worst mom in the entire world?
    Thanks for being so honest and sharing

  20. As one whose children have just flown the nest, my biggest regrets are the moments (so so many) when my temper ruled out of control. I am glad you wrote this and will share with as many moms as I can!

  21. Lisa,

    I never had children- not littles. I have had to “raise” my aging parents. Dealing with dementia and all such is hard. Try working full time and running to check on them and see what “mess” they are in today. It was hard for a while, especially with my dad. Now God has blessed me with a “cured” father. He appreciates all I do for him. I get the idea of almost exhausted screaming, the feeling frustrated at what to do or expect.

    Blessings 🙂