Several years ago, when I was going through foster parent training, I attended a class about parenting children in crisis. The speaker described how we each have a window of emotional energy. Our windows close a little bit or a lot, depending upon the challenges in our lives. Children who have been through a lot of challenges tend to have windows that are only open about an inch and the smallest thing can slam the window shut.

Sometimes I think about that as it relates to me as a single mom. I believe that my emotional window is about one wet towel on the floor from slamming shut. There are days when I feel like all I do is tear around my house on a rant about toys on the floor, shoes in the foyer, dirty dishes in the sink, too many little and big screens in front of faces, and anything else that annoys or frustrates me.

I’m afraid I might have put myself in this pickle! I’ve created my own Crazytown without even realizing it. I’ve tried to make life easier for my children because I know they’re hurting, but I think that wasn’t the best thing. In fact, I know it.

A lot of the things that are making me looney can be solved by training and disciplining my children. Their lack of boundaries is driving me bonkers. I’m starting to take things personally …that’s never good.

It’s kind of parenting 101 – the whole don’t let it become personal thing. Somehow I have to see the situation from a different vantage point.

But what vantage point?

The one where I see that my children need to be trained to be thoughtful, careful, responsible, and loving in their actions towards me and others. The vantage point where I remember that God has entrusted them to me to raise so they can do great things for Him…not me.

Why must I continually have to learn that everything is not about me? It’s the lesson that I feel like I’m constantly teaching my children as well.

Things have happened in our family that make all our windows on the mostly shut side. I’ve been so convicted lately that it’s important that I put aside some of my busyness in order to train my children well so that our environment is peaceful and our relationships are stress-free – or as stress-free as we can be in this nutty world! I want to start throwing some windows wide open!

I’m going to begin by setting some goals for all of us. I also need to give my children some responsibilities and hold them accountable to complete them well. With some order I believe our windows might begin opening up a bit more.

And I just have to stop fretting about the small stuff and start focusing on the big things … five big things to be exact. After all, I sure love them a lot … even if they are always trying to close my window!

When Happily Ever After Shatters by Sue BirdseyeSue’s book When Happily Ever After Shatters is available now wherever books are sold.

With abandonment and adultery, there is no five-step plan for survival, but there can be hope and healing. When Happily Ever After Shatters will be a comfort to those who grieve in solitude, and a hope-filled practical guide for those whose lives have changed irrevocably. Susan Birdseye will help readers learn to honor God when there is no hope of restoration, survive abandonment in and out of marriage, glorify God during a divorce, walk children gracefully through the crisis as a single parent, please God as a single person, again, and truly forgive the one who wronged them.

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  1. Here’s to windows thrown wide open! There are days I just have to let go, sit down with the boys in the middle of the mess – and just spend time – yet those boundaries are so important, too – setting responsibilities, consideration of others being a part of that:) I’m not a single parent – but I have days where that window doesn’t have much air-space:)