the day i was dropping f-bombs while cleaning their room

April 5, 2013

messy roommessy roommessy roommessy roommessy roomLet’s me start off by saying, I love my children. I really do. And I know I’m not the first stay-home-mom of four in the whole entire world, but sometimes, this job is hard and I don’t want to do it anymore. I’m pretty sure that’s what most people feel about their job at times, even jobs they love! I know Ben loves his job, but he has some complaints from time to time, so I’m guessing it’s normal. But when you feel that way about your kids, it just feels extra wrong. Doesn’t it?

There was one day last week, it was a couple days before Aunt Flo (my period) was arriving and I was just itching because everything was a mess, especially their room. I left Ben and the girls downstairs to go upstairs and clean it, for the millionth time that week, and I was no joke dropping f-bombs as I was doing so. Oh the rage I was feeling in my sinful heart! I totally could feel me fighting it internally, but the anger was winning. I let it because it felt good. At the same time, I hated it. I knew something was seriously wrong with my heart.

This is a job I have chosen. Wanted to do for, like, ever, and here I was complaining about it, and throwing things about the room and swearing like crazy. If you had seen me, you would have run away as fast as you could. I was plain crazy.

I’m no perfect mama. On the contrary, I’m one terrible sinner saved by God’s grace and I so don’t deserve it. That moment clearly reminded me how much I couldn’t do things on my own. Since I couldn’t, there’s only one place I knew I was going to get the guidance I needed, so I turned to reminding myself truths from God’s word. Now, that didn’t mean I am now by some magical power a perfect mama and have this job down pat, but it’s important to equip myself to battle the crazy feelings when they come up. Also, it involves sharing my struggles with another sister from our church family and asking her to pray for me. I’m honestly embarrassed to admit my behavior, but I’m the weird person who likes to talk about the not so pretty things of life too. Blogs are deceptive and can make people feel inadequate based on all the pretty pictures being shared (I feel this way reading some blogs sometimes), but really, they might be dropping f-bombs while cleaning their kids rooms too.

I’m sure my feelings are understandable, but not excusable. I try reminding myself of the sermon we heard last Sunday… that God has given everything I need to fight this frustration and find joy in Him. Sometimes, I am just too lazy to do so. I don’t want to be a f-bomb dropping mama. I want to serve my children with gladness and clean their room with love. I get these great moments of “I love my job! I love this moment!” and sometimes, “Ugh. I wanna go back to teaching someone else’s kids.” I really need to spend more time praying, reading God’s word, and filling my heart with things to help me win when these battles come up. My pastor sent us this article to read, Joanna shared this one on facebook, and I listened to this sermon this week to really help rebuke my heart.

I needed the reminder that I’m here to serve my children for God. I think I’ve forgotten that and have just been really selfish about it. Being self-centered is not going to rear my children to how I want them to grow and it will just make me more frustrated. Actually, if I’m being selfish, I will raise more selfish adults and well, that just wouldn’t be good for anyone. I want to love my children and serve them well unto the Lord and that means fighting through my selfishness to be selfless. Selflessness and being a happy hearted servant are definitely things I need to work on. God has entrusted these kids to me and I need to take care of them, their messes, and especially their hearts. Oh and I need a chill pill. A few actually. I must have ran out of my supply. Anyone know where I can get a refill?

p.s. these pictures were not taken on f-bomb dropping day, but probably a day or so later, after they had made another mess after i cleaned it. oh and they taped little mermaid coloring pages all over their room because they said they wanted a little mermaid room. oye!

47 comments on “the day i was dropping f-bombs while cleaning their room”

  • lisa leonard says:

    I feel ya!! It’s real life–and sometimes it isn’t pretty. And God’s grace covers over even this. So thankful for that. xo

  • Brooke Knipp says:

    Thanks for this πŸ™‚

  • Thank you for sharing ! I felt the same this week and was frustrated a good part of the week. And than remembered I can’t do nothing with my strenght ! It is so hard to rely on God and not forget to pray about being the mom He wants us to be ! Have a nice weekend !

  • Nicole says:

    My daughter tapes pictures all over our house! At least she uses washi tape so it is pretty and easily removable. So glad to see she is not the only one…

  • Christine says:

    I have these days too!

  • Lacy says:

    Very well said! We have books ALL over ALL the time, picking up the same stuff every day. And then I’m reminded of all my own messes that God has to help clean up…not so different:) Love your blog and your sweet family!

  • Meg says:

    I think we would be abnormal if we did not feel this way at some point in this long, bumpy, and beautiful road of motherhood…hormones added or not! πŸ™‚ The key, however, is letting ourselves get through it without hurting those we love. I struggle with this every month, honestly, I can feel it creeping into my bones. I take really big breaths and if that doesn’t help, I take a bath, and if that doesn’t help, stepping outside for 2 mins to regroup helps me to refocus and realign myself. I am a former teacher, too, who stayed home for 7 years. I’ve recently joined the school scene again as an interventionist, and I can tell you, the grass is always greener…until you’re standing in that grass covered with mud. Nothing is perfect, especially ourselves. Give yourself credit, you are an amazing mama and a million thanks for being honest. Happy weekend.

  • mel says:

    Thanks for your honesty! I only have one child and he’s only 16 months old, but I’m already feeling the same way you do. One thing I’m learning is that it’s OK to have bad days, and when my son gets old enough to understand, it’ll be good for me to be honest with him about how I’m feeling and how thankful I am for God’s grace. Hang in there!

  • Jennifer says:

    Your honesty is sooo refreshing!! A while back, in a similar situation, I had just put my kids into their car seats as we were trying to get somewhere on time (during a particularly stressful day) and as I came back into my house all alone to get some thing that I had forgotten, I lost it! Yes I was dropping f-bombs too! I felt so badly and knew that I had offended God. (If my family had heard me, I’m sure they would have died!) It was a very humbling learning experience for me & I’m very thankful for repentance and forgiveness. I do find that I’m pretty hard on myself and I try to remember that no one is perfect. Even Mary Magdalene (who was such a close associate of Jesus) had seven devils cast out. Seven!! I’m sure that wasn’t a “pretty sight,” but what a humble and wonderful woman she must have been. Anyway, just know that you are sooo inspiring to us all and that you are doing an amazing job!

  • Disney says:

    Oh, man. I have never sworn in my life, and was never tempted to until I started brushing a toddler’s teeth. All of a sudden things were popping into my head and heart that I never thought would! Isn’t is funny how these wonderful, sweet, angelic, heart-warming treasures can just make you want to die?!?! Thank the Lord that He is more patient with us than we are with our own little ones at times. God is so good. And thank you for your lovely, honest post! God’s strength is shown in our weaknesses.

  • giulia says:

    it’s okay, perfectly okay:)

  • katie says:

    you are definitely not alone…while it’s easy to feel guilty (it seems that motherhood= guilt), try not to be so hard on yourself. i have many days like that when I just cringe when my children open their bedroom door to come out and ask for something for the millionth time! i just want them to stay in there all day and not come out! its terrible, but our job is so stressful at times that we beg for a way to deal with it…and sometimes the way we deal with it isn’t the best, but you are one step ahead by looking into yourself and not ignoring your behavior.

  • Amanda says:

    Keep your chin up. You are doing a great job. God remembers that we are but human, so give yourself a little slack. When I feel irritable and start taking everything out on the kids then I know it is time for a break. After some time away I come back with a better outlook on life, and actually want to be around my children,

    Thanks for being so honest. In a weird way it is encouraging to hear I am not the only mom that goes through this.

  • Nair says:

    Thank you, I’m having a pretty stressful day and feel terrible for not feeling happy doing my wonderful job. I just want to scream! I’m so glad that I randomly came across this (ok not randomly God wanted me to read it) while looking at a picture of cupcake in a jar. I never found the cupcake in a jar post but instead find this that made me feel much better as I know I’m not alone. I am so thankful that God loves us so much that when we are so desperate he remind us how much he loves us and that he is there with us not judging but giving us the strength.
    Hope you all have a great weekend!

  • Bek says:

    Ive been thinking about what being a joyful servant looks like lately. Reading a lot of Tim Keller! Am reading his book on marriage at the moment, and just read “the freedom of self forgetfulness” by Keller too- which is a lot shorter. If you haven’t already read them, I think you’d like them. His perspectives on the gospel are so practical. I’ve been reading your blog for years and I really appreciate the way you share the good/bad/ugly but are also so transparent about your relationship with Jesus and what he has done for you. Hope this week goes better for you!

  • Bek says:

    Ps I’ve totally dropped f bombs while cleaning up the kids rooms too.

  • Sara says:

    I love your honesty!

  • erin says:

    i always appreciate your honesty when it comes to these things. as mamas, we all have these moments. mine was yesterday and i said things i am ashamed of. the key is to learn from it and try not to let it happen that way again. it is so clear to me that your heart is in the right place and that you are a wonderful mother to your girls.

    p.s. we cut down on the number of books we own and there’s way less book mess to clean up! getting rid of many of the vintage books was quite hard for me, but in the end the bookshelf is organized and easier to navigate and they’re not as likely to pull out all the books looking for “that specific one.”

    just a thought. πŸ˜‰

  • leah says:

    i love how honest you are about being a mom, and serving your family. it is early to feel like this job is thankless and that you aren’t appreciated, and that all you do is stuff for everyone else, things that they should do for themselves… but you are showing them God. I never realized how my parents really affected my view of God when I was growing up, but they did, in a huge way. By showing grace you are showing them God, and giving them a great example… but that’s not easy.

    i only have one child and i struggle with being gracious to my husband and to her.

    thanks for sharing your struggles and your joys.

    p.s. as i teenager i used to get paid to clean little girl’s bedrooms and toy rooms, and it really is the worst. they have the cutest stuff, but so many little pieces!

  • megan says:

    Thank you for this reminder that we need to be selfless, not selfish examples to our children. I fall into that pattern far too often, and start thinking of them as a burden instead of as blessings that God has entrusted to me. So thankful for the grace of God, and that we get to try again every day. And that our mistakes can also be a lesson for our children in asking for forgiveness.

    Your writing is often so powerful in lifting me up and reminding me what my focus should really be, and such a beautiful witness to the Lord. I often don’t feel brave enough to write like you, but your words give me much encouragement, and remind me to be bolder with my faith. Thank you!

  • MarΓ­a says:

    I am really thankful for this post. You are right, in blogs I only see perfect moms with perfect children in their perfect houses and sometimes I feel like “man, these women are just impecable, I’m horrible!!” hahaha! I figure out that it cannot be always “that perfect”, but they keep the “dark side” to their own, which is normal. Anyways, I have loved the way you have shared your imperfection and it seems to me you are a bit too hard with yourself!! It is perfectly ok loosing control sometimes! Gosh, you have a lot of work with those beautiful girls!!!
    Thank you so much for this slice of reality!! You are still a perfect mama to me!! πŸ˜‰

    MarΓ­a (Spain)

  • Nicole says:

    I think that kids are wonderful and enrich our lives incredibly, but they can also be incredibly frustrating! I think being frustrated is totally normal, and you should not blame yourself. Instead, make sure you take care of yourself – find ways to take breaks or have someone else watch them for a while – do something that makes you happy. Then when you come back to the kids, it will be easier to see the good aspects again. I believe that it is only when you take care of yourself first, that you can take effectively take care of others.

  • Jessa says:

    Thank you for this. We are one month in on parenting two and the last two days have been HARD! An energetic and strong-willed 2 1/2 year old and an infant + lack of sleep seem to be bringing out the worst in me now that the first few weeks have gone by and we are trying to figure out “normal”, and it can feel so terrible to realize we’re not our best at every moment. Thanks for your honesty and for pointing back to Christ-as much as I hate letting myself and my family down in moments of weakness, I am forever grateful for a righteous standing in the eyes of God because of the good work of Jesus on my behalf. What a burden lifted to know it is paid for in full!

    Thanks for representing the ups and downs, I can only imagine what FOUR is like πŸ™‚ Also, I second Bek’s book recommendations if you haven’t already read them. My husband and I have found that Keller kicks our butts (in the best way) every time. We call him a spiritual ninja πŸ™‚

    Many blessings!

  • Sheila D. says:

    we all have moments like that, girl!

    from one big sister to another (because we have the tendency to do lots of things for lots of folks and not think of ourselves EVER…even if it IS for the greater good of those around us! AND we’re super hard on ourselves and tend to be perfectionists):

    I constantly keep in mind that I am not doing myself or my girls (i have 3) any favors by cleaning up the mess for them!

    i read a blog post once that talked about simplifying kids’ toys/stuff.
    the basic was this: if there’s such a big mess that THEY can’t clean up, they have too much.

    we made it a big deal to choose the things that we truly treasured/played with EVERY day. It was a rough day but, I’d rather teach these lessons now than with bigger objects/possessions. It’s STUFF…if it causes that much distress (any time of the month! *wink*)…get rid of it! πŸ˜€

    hang in there!

  • Andria says:


    You’re honest and I think that’s awesome!

  • Yup. Yup yup. Uh huh.

    I really, really feel you. Even the scenario is the same because for me, cleaning their room [AGAIN] is my biggest button.

    I recently read this little factoid that said….wait for it….’Even fish can get seasick.’

    Sounds kind of silly, but that SPOKE to me, man, because I thought, I may be made for this job but sometimes, even if we’re doing what we were made to do, we can get sick of it. And that’s okay, because we’re not perfect. Only one person is.


  • oh my!!! this was just absolutely fantastic! your honesty and vulnerability are real, raw and relevant to SO MANY mom’s today! i love the sensitivity of your heart, to be able to hear God speaking to you, even in the midst of your frustrations, is huge. that willingness to yield… even when it takes a minute… is what will keep you in the game, and give you the strength you need to keep winning. love you!!

  • Kim says:

    Thanks for sharing. I totally feel this way some days with my four as well. I’ve wanted to run away so many times but I silently talk to God to give me an answer and He always does. I have plastic bags of their crap stashed away so I don’t have to keep tidying it up and I try to use sticker charts to get them to help clean up. It’s a really really hard job but as long as we are happy and praying to God then that’s ALL that matters. Give them all a big hug and you’ll feel much better too. Off to read those articles you linked. God bless you.

  • misha lulu says:

    I feel the same way chica! I yell and get so mad and then feel guilty, and you know I have the mess from Bela plus my own mess from the company that I make because I am so rushed all the time with no time at all!
    As long as you pray and you can see that you can improve that is what matters! we are all imperfect moms!
    This is real life like you said!

  • Leslie says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is the top reason I read your blog ( i do love all the the pretty pictures too) but I so appreciate that you are real. You talk about your struggles and let it all out. It makes me know that you are human and not some blogging alien or something πŸ™‚ I also love that you bring it back to God I can certainly relate to dropping the f bomb about mothering and knowing that I need to pray. Thank you so much Ruby.

  • Amanda says:

    Eff bombs are just slang words to replace us from us sounding intelligent angry.
    I’m an f bomber when I’m hangry, stressed after a long bad day, & when I drive.
    God is going to love you & give you the strength you need to either handle it better or say it softer! πŸ™‚
    I’m pretty real on my blog. It’s good to be real !

  • jen says:

    Thanks for sharing such an honest post! I’ve checked your blog for several years and have also always loved how open you are that you’re only human and have messes too. I try to be real in my blogging as well, we ALL have hard days! I could have easily written this post in the last couple weeks myself… as a fellow mama with 4 little ones it IS a hard job and recently I have found myself using not-so-nice language when by myself too. I’m always striving to be a better and more gracious mother, I have to work on my heart too!

  • Juultje says:


    Read your post and with the first half I agree for 100%. Sometimes having and raising kids is the hardest job in the world, more so if you’re a stay at home mom (I know what I’m talking about πŸ˜‰
    But I don’t agree with the second half of the post. Sure talking about worries or anger is the healthiest thing you can do, what you should do because than there’s room in your heart for the positive things again. But if the goal of the talking is to denial the anger completely and banish it out of your heart because its selfish? I don’t think this a healthy choice. The anger is no more than logical, your angry with your spouse if he makes a mess of the kitchen your just cleaned so why not have angry thoughts about your children. Sure, acting on that anger is a whole other topic but since you’re cleaning there rooms and they are downstairs there’s nothing wrong with releasing the anger on the mess they’ve made. Sometimes you have to be selfish in order to be a better mom the next day, or the next hour. Sometimes you have to take time to do something just for you and then you’ll have loads of renewed energy to give to them. And then you teach your children another valuable life lesson. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and it’s okay.

    I don’t know just felt the urge to post this, I’m no believer so maybe that’s the crux but anger isn’t always bad.
    Greetings from the Netherlands


  • amberZon says:

    You are an encouragement.

  • Mae says:

    I am struggling with similar issues….4 kids and exponential messes…..praying for God to set my heart’s priorities right…..I will pray for you too….reading devotionals on has been really helping me

  • Jenn says:

    I can put myself in your shoes as well! God is big enough to handle our anger!
    I am sure your girls are good helpers, next time include them in the clean up too.

  • Erin says:

    I have been reading your blog for ages and have never commented, but I always appreciate what you write because I can so relate! I’m a homeschooling mama to 3, ages 7 and under. I love it, I love them, I love the journey that we are on together. But sometimes the beautiful messes don’t seem beautiful, and I had a day exactly like you described just last week. Oh, I was so angry! I like David Crowder’s lyrics: “if His grace is an ocean we’re all sinking.” Thank goodness for that truth, and thanks for being so real in your writing!

  • Yep, yep, yeppity yep.
    I’m ashamed so often of my behavior, like when my three year old told me last week, ‘mama, we do not slam doors’, and am so thankful for a God who loves us and continually seeks us out, drawing us back to himself.

  • Caitlin N says:

    Hey there,

    I didn’t read through all the comments, so not sure if someone else suggested this already but it seems like you are making it harder on yourself by not holding your children accountable for their own responsibilities. I know your children are young, but the oldest three are PLENTY old enough to clean up some of their own space. In my classroom we learn everyday how to clean up and it seems like if they have enough time to color pictures they have enough time to clean up that pile of books and EARN a reward!!! You are so crafty you could whip up a chore chart in two seconds with cool stickers or whatever they like (I know, let the eye rolling begin when a chore chart is mentioned but look at that room!!!! I can ONLY imagine cleaning that mess up over and over again….) or you don’t even have to chart it. Let your kids take on some responsibilities and find a way to make it fun!! Good luck.

  • Elena says:

    AY NAKO! (As my Filipino mother would say, shouting and ironically smiling at the same time.)

    I don’t know how you do it, honestly. I have a 2-yr-old, and I have no idea how I can deal with a second (but really want to). Faith, I guess! My husband works a lot these days, he comes home, throws things here and there and forgets. So, I constantly feel like I’m just cleaning. Then, one day, I stopped. (Just for a day or I really would go mad.) I needed a break. And the hubby noticed, but exclaimed, “What happened??!” haha!

    I love painting, coloring, playing with Playdoh with Sania, but it does get messy. Eventually, I learned to just sort things in bins and then put all the really messy stuff behind cabinets that she couldn’t get into easily. She had to ask. Now she knows that she has to clean up her toys and mess (who knows though how long that will last) after she’s done playing.

    Then, there are some days I think I should be working, like all my other mom friends. But, my mother worked like crazy growing up. She had to. I missed her so much. She worked way too hard, yet she always had fresh meals on the table, laundry done, everything in the house spotless. How, how, how?

    Simply just do what you can and always ask for help (so bad about doing that).

  • psocial says:

    This completely makes me remember my days when my baby use to do the same thing.. Cheers to you and your family πŸ™‚ . I have got some more similar photos do have a look on it

  • Christine says:

    You will never be the only one swearing under her breath (or even aloud) while taking care of the children you love more than your life. It’s a sad, desperate moment, but it does feel good to let that out. And honestly, the hormones are at play, too. Big time. Thank you for sharing.

  • Tanya says:

    Rubyellen, I definitely hear you when I read this post! I am so grumpy sometimes when I need to cook a meal or the kids keep interrupting what I’m doing over and over again, or they bring everything downstairs and then leave it there for me to clean up. It can be so frustrating to clean over and over again, and no one is saying thank you! I have the same issues, and I’m sure plenty of other moms do too. I just know, now that my kids are older, I have been able to get rid of so many big, bulky toys and just lots of toys in general as they play with toys less and less throughout the years. So at least you have something to look forward to! I remember those years and all those toys very well still!

  • Ana says:

    I blow up a lot and I only have two kids. I even had a melt down with my girls infront of Karen and the other ladies once at Karen’s house. They were all supportive though and understood how I felt. You’re such a wonderful mom! I will be thinking about this post next time I feel I’m getting angry at the girls (which will probably be somtime today…ha).

  • Tori says:

    Thank you for such an honest post. Have you heard about a book called “Desperate” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson? I just finished it and found it oh so relavent. It’s a book full of transparency and wisdom for moms of littles – co-authored by two Christian mamas…both are homeschoolers and writers so it might be up your alley. I really can’t say enough great thingsabout it. side note: I met you a few years ago with our mutual friend Liberty at a coffee shop…I love checking your blog when I can….always refreshing and inspiring… πŸ™‚

  • melanie says:

    i love this post. thank you for your honesty. after a looong mama day today and a similar episode earlier in my daughter’s room where she taped a mermaid drawing above her bed – crazy!, i felt like just catching up on my blogs and i found this post and sighed. i am not alone. i love my children, they drive me insane, i need to pray for patience. repeat.

  • lisa says:

    I think u r so cute and honest…….we just need to breathe, get perspective and realise this is a passing fleeting moment…..and then we will be on our lonesome again…..gotta enjoy the mayhem whist it lasts…..and an iced whiskey at the end of the day does sometimes make us less uptight to our poor kids…allowing the guilt to sink in.-……..keep calm, don’t shout, give choices and show your love and praise…….lately tho I can feel I just want to lose it…..but sometimes I am tired and scared and feel alieanated…but realise hey that’s part of parenting x


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