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Touring Whine Country

This post was written by my lovely and talented wife who has a message for you and me. I hope you enjoy it, reflect on it, and take it in the spirit in which it is intended. Did I mention she’s wonderfully blunt? Okay, here’s Andrea…


Stop the whining please.

I am a mother of 3 children, a pastor’s wife, a high school math teacher, and a foster mom of two toddlers. Yes, I’m tired. I feel like my world spins out of control on a daily basis, sometimes an hourly basis. I do not have enough hands or brainpower to meet every demand. This all occurs on the inside though; based upon people’s comments I appear to have everything together on the outside.

But I’m walking in what God has called me to, and I know His grace is more than enough. I lean on His strength to carry me through. I also work hard to watch for those little things to take joy in (like picking berries and making pies with my kids).

When we opened our home to be foster parents again, I thought I was prepared and fully cognizant of what I was doing based upon my experience of the previous seven foster children we’ve had in and out of our house. But it has come to my attention that nothing can prepare me for a 22 month old who operates on a 10 to 12 month old level and a 3 year old who is operating as if he were a 2 year old. Their verbal skills are almost non-existent so that leaves very limited means of communication: cry, hit, and whine.

I guess when the kids evaluated these limited choices they choose all three with an extra dose of whine to be used CONSTANTLY. Now, I have been known to exaggerate on occasion so let’s be clear, by “constantly” I mean out of the 9 or so hours a day they are awake, they will be whining 7-8 hours of them.

I believe myself to be competent in my child rearing skills. I’ve taken lots of classes, read the best books, tried out methods that worked (on all those other kids). I was the oldest child growing up so I take anything I do to the excellence hilt. But I’ve found myself slowly being ground down by this whining, until my mind begins to wonder, “would it be ok to tape their mouths?” (No, I don’t). I don’t know how others parent, but I try to reward the no-whining requests to reinforce that positive behavior so as to say, “this is what we want!”

For some reason, I find myself not wanting to give that second cup of milk because I don’t want them to think throwing the cup at me, pounding their head on the table, and going “ahhh, AHHHH, AHHHHHHHHHHH” at me is a proper way of communicating.

I love these children, but the whining is driving me crazy.

On a side note, have you noticed some facebook user’s updates that are continually negative and whiny? The negativity and despair seems to ooze from their updates. I love you, but please, STOP THE WHINING! This moment has been brought to you by Andrea’s last nerve (now in cinnamon!). Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

All this aside, I wonder if this is how God feels. He is taking care of all His children, teaching them valuable life lessons, loving them, showing the way for eternal salvation, and so many times all He gets from us is continual whining on what is missing or complaints on why it is taking so long. God is preparing His gift, something you’ve been praying for and asking for a long time; and if you don’t watch for it, you’re here saying, “if only someone loved me enough to…  If I only had… I’ll never be able to…” We’re all able to fill in those blanks.

We have to be consciously thankful for what we have, where we’ve been, and where He’s leading us.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Do you find yourself whining too much? What do you do to flip the switch and focus on God and the more positive things?

41 Comments

  1. Oh, how funny! I was just thinking that it was about time that we heard from Andrea! (Seriously! I was just thinking that last week!)

    And Jason, PLEASE stop whining! You’re driving Andrea crazy!

    Okay, now seriously. I go through seasons where I don’t whine at all. Where I take everything that’s thrown at me and just absorb it and move on. Then, there’s the whiny seasons. When the whiny seasons hit, I try to get through them by praying more for other people to take my eyes off of myself. Some days, it works great. Some days… Well, I’m just gonna keep working on that.

    Thanks, Andrea!
    Sarah Salter recently posted..Tying Up Loose EndsMy Profile

    • Sarah, thanks for your note- and you message to Jason (I keep trying to drop these hints…) :) Learning to look for the positive and being able to stay focused on God is a daily choice. Trust me, I’m keep working on it too!

  2. Andrea,

    I hear my wife’s voice throughout your post…she definitely can relate on a lot of levels. When my kids complain I often ask…”Do you want some cheese to go with that whine?”

    Moms have the toughest job in the world and their impact on their children is generational. I call my wife an Human Development Engineer because of the daily impartation into our seven kids. She is a wonder and an example to many…she wouldn’t say that but I know it to be true.

    Thanks for sharing your heart. You’re doing an awesome work and the Father loves the job
    you’re doing!

    • Thanks, Jay! My motto is that Mom’s get to be God’s hands on a daily basis. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me. :)

  3. First of all, you should write more often for your husband. You do a great job!

    And funny you should write about negativity. I am the same way and today, ironically, my blog post turned in these directions.

    I admire your courage and I pray for your family as often as I think of you. :)
    Duane Scott recently posted..be the saltMy Profile

    • Thanks, Duane. Yeah, Jason’s been whining, no, strike that- politely asking and encouraging me to write for him for a while now. Glad you are getting out the anti-negativity message too- as a global society we could stand to lower the level a few notches.

  4. Andrea,
    I really, really liked reading this posting. Don’t get me wrong, it would be fabulous if your stress level was reduced, but this posting speaks sincerity. I very much appreciate your dose of tough love for many readers. After reading this I instantly went to wondering what was the last time I was whining? But, this also reminded me of what to be thankful for versus complaining all the time. Thanks for the story, and I will keep peace for your family in my prayers!

    • I’m glad you found it thought provoking. That’s definitely the key- being thankful. It’s a whole attitude and mind switch that is apparently learned.

      Just writing is a stress relieving activity- and a hot tub night with Jason really helped too. :)

  5. Hey Andrea! Agree on all fronts. I think witnessing the whining and selfish nature of my own kids forces me to reflect on my own tendency to do that with God. It also helps my patience with them (most of the time). Of course, I only have 2, and they’re older and less whiny (mostly). I’m pretty sure if you were my mom, I’d try my best to obey. You seem like a pretty tough cookie--and I mean that in a good way. Great post. Thanks.
    katdish recently posted..Stain remover by Billy CoffeyMy Profile

    • Don’t you love how our kids make us reflect and change too? Seeing God’s love and patience with me totally helps me “spread the love” onto the the kiddos.

  6. Stop whining and flip the switch.

    Love it.
    michael recently posted..Can I Sit With YouMy Profile

    • Exactly! Thanks, Michael.

  7. You nailed it. There have to be times when God looks at and knows we’re functioning at a level at least half our age. The difference between us and toddlers is that we should know better — and they still have to learn.
    Glynn recently posted..2 Poems Written on an AirplaneMy Profile

    • Totally true. And what amazes me, Glynn, is how God is still so patient and willing to walk us through, step by step, hand and hand, AGAIN and AGAIN! Thanks for the comment.

  8. I don’t WHINE! I just voice my immense displeasure and not getting my way constantly… Oh… wait… dang.

    OK, I’ve been known to whine occasionally.

    Now where did I hide that switch I need to flip?

    Thank you Andrea! I look forward to hearing more from you! Sounds like Jason is a very lucky husband. Praying for both of you.

    • Thanks, Dusty. We can use the prayers. Good luck finding your whine switch. :)

  9. Great reminder. I agree wholeheartedly with you. I can’t stand whining either but I have to evaluate my heart from time to time to stop the whining.
    Kevin M. recently posted..How do you move on after a tragedyMy Profile

    • Don’t we all, Kevin! Thanks.

    • So true! No one is exempt.

  10. Hey Jason! Does this mean she will be writing more posts? This is great! But please no whining when she wins for most comments of the year on your blog. Please pass on to her (without the whine) that her thoughts were appreciated. I tend to think God would really like to tape our mouths and say, “Listen. If you can’t find something to be positive about and thank me then hold the whine” but I doubt He would. :) Thanks for sharing her with us.

    • If I can keep her going, I’d love her to write regularly! I agree with you, God’s patience and restraint is astounding… Thanks Bill.

    • Thanks, Bill.

  11. I love this! reminds me of the Bob Newhart sketch called “Stop It!”
    herbhalstead recently posted..thesamepowerMy Profile

    • Wow, that video is hilarious! Thanks Herb.

    • Love it! Stop it, you kook! STOP IT! :) I wonder if that would work in the middle of night with my children when they come crying scared of something else……. hmmmmmmm…..

  12. Okay, I only threw the milk cup once (because you wouldn’t give it back after that). But I waaaaant moooore miiiiilk! Oh, and I never whine. But seriously Andrea, what you need to do to combat the whining is to loudly exclaim “Great Hairy Monkey Butts!” whenever you’re at the end of your rope. It has a way of making things right again. Jason can explain.
    Wendy recently posted..Sweet dreams arent made of thisMy Profile

    • “Great hairy monkey butts” is a lot better than some of the things I’ve yelled around the house. As for explaining, I’ve tried explaining things like this before and I always get the “you are so weird” look. :)

      • Okay, please tell me that Wendy didn’t go there with the monkey anatomy. C’mon, Wendy! We want Andrea to think we’re quasi-normal.

        And Jason, you yell? No way! And I know that “you are so weird” look because I give it to you guys (mostly you and Wendy) ALL the time! :)
        Sarah Salter recently posted..Tying Up Loose EndsMy Profile

        • That was a look? I thought that was just your normal face since that’s the only way you ever look at me… And really? It’s always monkey butt time.
          Wendy recently posted..Sweet dreams arent made of thisMy Profile

      • You mean like when you yell, “Bring on the zombies!”? Because, yeah, that could get you a look.
        Wendy recently posted..Sweet dreams arent made of thisMy Profile

        • I find my best line of defense is to use my “evil teacher eye.” The kids know this look well and they quiet very quickly. Well, at least my kids do. I’m not sure these two babies are reading any facial expressions.

  13. Great blog!

    Chocolate always quiets my days when I want to liberally douse myself in self-pity and whine like a 3-year old. Ah, but where’s the fun in life if we got everything we wished. Gotta have something to strive for each day.

    • That’s right- something to still look forward to and anticipate. Like those adorable 80 year old people in pottery class at college- they never settled and make the most out of each day.

  14. I love this post! But I never whine. Cough, cough.

    Kind of reminds me of Philippians 2:14: Do everything without complaining or arguing.

    Do you think that means whining as well?

    I love that scripture. No, I hate it. No, I love it.

    I have a problem with making up my mind, too.

    You need to write some more.

    P.S. Herb -- I love Bob Newhart. No problem making up my mind there. :)

    • I think whining is just complaining is a high squeaky voice with possibly a few tears to hopefully inspire additional pity from those around us. OR the whining is masking our worry and lack of trust for God to actually take care of us. Those are my two thoughts.

  15. Great question at the end, Andrea.
    I don’t have children, but I taught for many years, and this year worked with summer school / camp. Yes, the whining is what was driving me up a wall. You have my deep admiration for coping so well. I have told students, “No, because you are whining. Try asking me again when the long hand is on the ____ without the whining.” I know. Not going to work with the age level you are working with.
    I also get annoyed with adults who whine, but pondering your question does make me say “Yikes! I do whine, too, don’t I? I hope I do something about it…”
    Helen recently posted..Fun Filled Water StaycationsMy Profile

    • We all live and operate in this fallen world -- whine happens. At least we take steps in the right direction. 1- notice it happens. 2-STOP IT! (thanks, Herb). Thanks, Helen.

      • Yeah, I think we all whine from time to time (have you read the Psalms lately???) but the self-check is what we so desperately need to re-employ. And you’re welcome for the video -- I try to spread that love as often as is appropriate. It’s been shown in my church at least twice :-)
        herbhalstead recently posted..thesamepowerMy Profile

  16. well, i might be a whino. have ups and downs like a roller coaster. tend to be a bit cynical too. change might be painfully slow….for others waiting/hoping/wishing for me to change:)

  17. btw…thank you for posting this. it confirms a writing change that’s coming to my blog soon. Our Father has been nudging me about this and you’re the second witness to it:)

    • I was wondering if you were still posting. I haven’t seen anything in a while! Thanks Bud.