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Mothering Kids With Big Feelings

It didn't occur to me until the past year or so that not everyone is a "Big feeler". That not everyone's kids are crazy expressive and sensitive. It didn't occur to me because all four my very different personality kids, have very big feels and are very expressive with them. All. four. of. them.

My aha moment has actually been watching some of my friends and their kids. One of my closest friends has five kids and only two of her five have big feelings. Another friend of mine has two kids who neither I would classify as big feelers.

Big Feelers don't just feel things deeply, but they express them passionately. Happy and sad, mad or glad, they are very "OUT LOUD" with their feelings. Jen Hatmaker refers to families as being sassy or sweet.  I think big feelers tend to fall in the "Sassy" category.

To be fair, my kids come by it honest. I am without question a big feeler. It makes sense that all four of my kids would get that part of me too. It's actually a little scary and a bit of a "looking in the mirror" moment for myself sometimes. Gives me a whole new appreciation for my parents!

Some people classify big feelings as drama. And let's be real. It's true. There is a fine line between trauma and drama in our house and 92.57% of the time, things fall on the drama side of the line. I'm pretty sure I'm on the school nurse's frequent caller list. I'm always surprised when they actually show up with a fever because I didn't believe their "I don't feel good" act before school (because the other 99% of the time its just whinyness).

Mothering kids with big feelings is EXHAUSTING. At the end of some days, I feel so emotionally rung out and I wonder why until I remember all of the invisible fires I put out that day. Someone was terribly upset that his eyebrows made him look scary and someone else was crying about the stuffed animal that she lost 4 years ago. Sometimes one person doesn't get the orange bowl they wanted for breakfast and when you tuck him into bed that night he is still crying about it or that someone who cried for thirty minutes at naptime because he wanted it to be his birthday and it's not.

Also it's LOUD, y'all. Like 96.589% is is so loud in our house because of all the emoting and expressing and passion. Games are loud. Playing is loud. Cleaning is loud. Eating is loud. Conversations are loud. Homework is loud. There are two volume levels in our house: Loud and Asleep. Very very little in between. Can you even imagine the teenage years?

But. (Don't you love having a "but" in a post like this?). But. There are some really really great things about raising big feelers too. These are some of my favorite things about it:

The passion doesn't just apply to the drama. It applies to important things too. Shepherd is so passionate about the truth and things being right. What a privilege it is to point him towards God's perfect truth in his word. LK is so passionate about making a difference in this world in really important ways. One of my favorites is her passion for medical research and wanting to find cures for diseases like childhood cancer and Alzheimers. (Can you even IMAGINE what that's going to look like for her in 20 years?!). Fischer is passionate about food (😂) but also about people. He knew everyone's name in his Kindergarten class after the second day of school and can give you a run-down of the day and personality on any given day. How important is that? To have someone who notices and SEES people? It's all important, the passion. It's a big job to help them learn how to channel that passion, but it's so worth it because it's so important.

While the sensitivity in a threenager or four year old is enough to drive me insane (Oh the whining! about things like sock ridges and someone looked at them...yes, looked at them), there are some really sweet parts to it too. The great thing about big feelers is in general, they tend to understand feelings. They get it. Most of my people are pretty quick to recognize when someone else is sad or hurting or needs a friend. Or even to recognize joy and want to be a part of it. They are sensitive to things that I am sometimes slow to catch on to or recognize. I love that.

This one is the tough one for me. Come about 4:30 on any given day I want to go hide in my bathroom and lock the door. There is so much noise between the four of them. Here's the thing I've been convicted about recently. A lot of the time, it's joyful noise. They are just playing together. I was stopped in my track one day thinking about a future day, when these arrows have all launched and how quiet and lonely these halls will be. Not that part of me isn't excited about that season one day, but it made me so thankful for the chance, every day, to enjoy them and their noise. (Also to learn the best times of day that headphones can be really helpful, amiright?)

So yeah, raising these spicy people with their big feelings is a big job. And it's hard. And I am exhausted a lot of days, there is still so much joy to be found in this task. Whenever I take a minute to regain perspective and remember than the world is not going to end over ketchup touching the chicken nuggets too early or the closet door being closed at night making a weird shadow on the wall, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness. And the future gets really exciting to think about how the Lord will shape these big feelers of mine.

Last week, I guest posted over at Mamas Organized Chaos about a game we play that we use to help manage the big feelings in our house. Check it out here: The Feelings Game: A Strategy For Managing Big Feelings. 

Other posts you might be interested in reading: 

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