“You are a bad Mom.”
It was a loud voice in my head that would occasionally put me in tears. Maybe it was because I missed something special because of work. Or because I didn’t want to put on a bathing suit. Or because they didn’t like my spaghetti. Or because I didn’t want to take them shopping with me unless I had my husband or an extra set of eyes with me.
It didn’t take much and it never made sense, but it always hurt and sometimes I believed it.
“Maybe I am a bad Mom?”
That was a lie that spilled out in therapy. I felt so inadequate and I felt guilty for crying around my children so much. How can I be a good mom when I am so broken and terrified of them getting hurt?
Their frozen and strong mom was melting in tears.
Maybe it wasn’t so bad. With each tear, I assured them that God was with me and helping me. He was healing me. He was teaching me to trust Him.
As they began to ask more questions, I would sometimes just freeze and stare off praying, “God, please help me!”
I found a shabby chic purple chair on Craigslist for $50 for our bedroom. It started out as a cozy space in the corner for me to read and write.
It has become a safe haven for my children, and a place where they can say anything.
All is fair in the purple chair.
When they sit in that chair, we get our hearts and minds ready – realizing we want them to feel safe enough to come to us, and to ask us anything.
There is no shame or fear in the purple chair.
If they ask us questions about their body or something that would take us by surprise we say, “That is a great question for the purple chair – let’s talk about it tonight.”
With the purple chair, no question is off-limits and they can tell us anything. It gives us time to pray and think about our response.
Purple chair conversations led us to purchase age appropriate body books for them to refer to as needed. Sometimes, we just talk about our day. If we need to apologize, we do.
We have very uncomfortable but necessary discussions in the purple chair. We talk to our kids about sexual abuse in age appropriate ways. We want them to understand their bodies and to understand boundaries. We want them to know that some secrets are bad, and they can tell us anything, anytime. God helped us create a safe place for our kids to share. He equipped us in those moments to respond in truth and love.
Our room is gray now, but we are keeping the purple chair. The work that God started with me in that chair is being passed on to my kids, and hopefully one day their kids.
He will equip. He will teach. He is peace.
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19