By Cindi McMenamin, Crosswalk.com
Would you classify yourself as a Drama Mama? Maybe not, but would someone else describe you that way?
I don’t think any of us sets out to be high maintenance, over-reacting, and overly-emotional moms, especially when it comes to our children, but it sure is easy if we’re not on guard.
Drama happens when unexpected circumstances hit and we are unprepared to handle them. And drama happens when we come up against other moms with different personalities who exaggerate, gossip, disappoint or misunderstand us or our children. Just being around other moms can sometimes elicit drama.
You and I can learn how to maturely respond – rather than emotionally react – to what life brings so that we can dial down the drama, diffuse it, or eliminate it altogether. Here are eight ways to help you NOT be a Drama Mama, for the sake of your children and yourself.
1. Care for yourself.
Are you getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night, eating well, and exercising regularly? If not, you really might be an emotional time bomb, and that can mean drama. When we are overly-tired, experiencing a sugar low, or being out of shape and not feeling good about it, we can easily lose our cool and project onto others what we are feeling ourselves.
Don’t be one who constantly has to apologize because you were tired, or not feeling well, or suffering from being hangry. As you take care of yourself physically, you’ll be helping yourself emotionally--and behaviorally as well.
2. Count to ten.
In today’s society, people--especially women--are praised for speaking their minds and speaking them loudly. But restraining our tongues, especially in the moment, has always been a virtue in God’s eyes. Proverbs 13:3 tells us “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.”
Being impulsive in our words and actions often leads to unnecessary drama. When we count to ten or pause to pray, we can curb the urge to blurt out the first that that comes to our minds in the heat of the moment and not over-react without thinking. Counting to ten delays our reactionary impulses so we can make sure we respond maturely to a situation. James 1:19 warns “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Practice self- control and let impulsiveness be the cause of someone else’s drama.
3. Cut the complaints.
We all encounter situations and circumstances that rub us the wrong way. But if you are one who is constantly complaining or seeing the glass as half-empty instead of half-full, you might be labeled as a drama queen. First Thessalonians 5:18 instructs us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” If you have a habit of complaining, start focusing on what you are grateful for and you may start to be the mom others prefer to be around.
4. Capture your thoughts.
How often does drama happen because a thought in our minds turned into a tapestry of negative thoughts, assumptions, and over-reactions and none of them were even real? Philippians 4:8 tells us to fix our minds on “whatever is true” or real, not assumed, feared or dreaded. In order to focus on what is true or real, we have to apply 2 Corinthians 10:5 which tells us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Taking our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ means capturing or binding them with the truth of God’s Word. Instead of entertaining a loose thought like I can’t get through this situation, capture that thought with the truth of God’s Word: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Or, instead of entertaining the thought I’m alone in this, capture that thought with the truth that Christ has said He’ll never leave you nor desert you (Hebrews 13:5). The more we know of God’s Word, the better we will be able to tame our reckless, wild thoughts and the more we can be known as a woman of the Word, rather than a woman who has to have the last word!
5. Curtail your schedule.
You know your limits. When you wake up in the morning and think "I can’t do this one more time," that’s often your body and mind telling you to slow down, take a break, and eliminate something from your schedule. Just because something happens in your sphere of influence doesn’t mean you have to rush in to fix it. Just because you are aware of something doesn’t mean God is assigning it to you. Much drama can be avoided when you get in the habit of running your schedule past God before committing and, when overwhelmed, asking Him what can wait until tomorrow and what needs to go, altogether.
Whether you supervise others in the workplace, or you supervise your kids at home, practice the art of delegation and allow others to share the load. You are only one person. Cut the drama by cutting your schedule.
6. Cut the gossip.
There’s no quicker way to trigger drama in your life and someone else’s than when you gossip or pass on some information about a mom that you wouldn’t have said if she were standing in front of you. This can happen even if you had the best of intentions, like “sharing your concern” with a group of moms about another mom’s parenting, or even suggesting to the group that they pray for a certain mom and her “problem.”
Proverbs 17:27 offers wisdom to help you avoid spreading gossip, as well as avoid reacting to gossip that was spread about you: “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.”
7. Consider the context – or the source.
Much drama can be diffused when we know how to deal with an offense against us. And most of the time we find ourselves offended because we have too little information. There is always another side to the story. There is always a context within which the story--or the offensive statement or action--occurred. And there is always a backstory (what a person may have been dealing with that caused her to say or do what she did to offend you). When you hear of an offense against you, so, ask God for the discernment to know if you really need to hear the context or the other side of the story, or if you need to just let it go.
Proverbs 19:11 tells us a person’s wisdom yields patience and “it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Get in the practice of taking every offense to God and asking Him to show you what, if anything, is true in the accusation or offense, and what to release so you can move on.
8. Correct Your thinking.
When you begin to feel overwhelmed by life and start to freak out, ask yourself: “What am I believing about God that isn’t true?” In other words, focus on the facts, not your feelings. What are the facts about God when your feelings are telling you otherwise? When our feelings lead us down a dark tunnel of despair, we need to switch on the facts of what we know about God to direct us back out. That will diffuse drama every time.
In Psalm 46:10, we are told “Be still and know that I am God.” When we know Who God is and what He is capable of, our worries, fears, and freak-outs can be stilled.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning author of 17 books who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. To see her resources to help you grow in your relationships, or for more on balancing your emotions and being the best woman, wife, and mom you can be, see her books, Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You, and 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, available at her website www.StrengthForTheSoul.com or anywhere you buy books.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages-Koldunov
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning author of more than a dozen books. She helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and with each other. She and her husband, Hugh, have been married 32 years and co-authored the book, When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection. Cindi has also Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband and When a Woman Inspires Her Husband, upon which this article is based. For more on her speaking, or resources to help strengthen your soul, marriage, or parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.