The Blur Between a Well-meaning Mom and a Nag

What is it about being female that makes us nag? I’m sure there must be some men who do it, too, but they aren’t the ones the Bible compares to “a continual dripping on a rainy day” and as more difficult “to restrain than the wind.” As if that isn’t bad enough, we also read in Proverbs that men would be better off living in a desert or on the corner of the roof than sharing a house with a nag!

In the early years of our marriage I think my husband may have agreed :). Of course, I put it back on him, fully believing that if he would just pick up his clothes and put bascially everything else back in its “home” after use, I wouldn’t have to nag. The problem is: things left out not only don’t bother him, but he actually likes it so he can always see where things are.

No matter there are empty drawers and cabinet space, if he can't see it plainly it might as well not even be there!

You’ld never know he has empty drawers and cabinet space in his office! But, even with the clutter he knows exactly where everything is.

I finally realized I could either be the constant “dripping,” or for the betterment of our marriage, adapt.  So, I’ve learned to make convenient easy-to-use “homes” for his commonly left-out items or to just pick up for him when I get tired of items sprawling across the countertop.  There is no point in nagging or drawing attention to what I’ve done to “help” him because honestly it’s all God’s grace to me.

This antique copper plate is perfect for his keys, phone, wallet and other misc smalls. And, the canister? Perfect for hiding phone chargers and cords:)

This antique copper plate is perfect for his keys, phone, wallet and other misc smalls. While the canister hides phone chargers and cords:)

This cute little box from Anthro? Great for his eye glasses, pens and other need-to-be-near the couch items.

The cute little box from Anthro? Great for his eye glasses, pens and other need-to-be-near the couch items. Love pretty solutions!

But now I need that grace as a mom because somewhere along the way I redirected my nagging toward my daughter! 

Like with my husband, I didn’t think nagging is what I was doing. I thought I had well-meaning motives and was just trying to help. But in trying to help, I have been trying to control and in trying to control, it just may be this is my area of helocopter hovering.

At some point (a point rather soon considering she is almost a senior) she will have to take full responsibility for herself. I won’t be there to remind her of deadlines, to help her plan ahead, to make things easier, to manage her time, to put her clothes away or to clean her tub!


But while she is still here under my roof and since her life is full with many demands (as it will forever more be) and I just happen to be organized and a good time-manager :), I have made it my mission to “help” her.  And so the lines have become blurred between well-meaning and nag!

After a recent honest conversation, I see how my nagging has contributed to her feeling like she doesn’t measure up not just to my expectations, but to me. And by me trying to “better” prepare her for college and beyond, it has actually led her to feel like I think she is incapable, a failure even.

Wow- how’s that for a wake-up call to the drip-drip!

The only thing I want to be dripping is grace and compassion and love. So even though I considered myself to be “loving” her by “helping” her get things done or turned in, what I have really been doing is trying to control and keep her from failing. Perhaps I can better love her by trusting God’s control over her, even if this means something doesn’t get done according to my timetable. In fact, maybe that is loving her by allowing her to learn on her own?!

So, Moms…

  • What if we asked God to show us where we are failing to love because what we love better is our own way?
  • What would happen if we held our tongue and just accepted those we love as they are?
  • Do you think the lack of control would kill us or might we actually find more peace in letting go?

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