If you have read even a few of my blog entries you know by now that patience is top of the list on my mommy struggles. If you don’t struggle with that, God bless you. It is not pretty, it is not nice, it does not make for warm fuzzy feelings for you or the children. After a good yelling session, I look inside myself and think, who are you, and what exactly did that accomplish? Don’t get me wrong, I have certainly found that a firm, loud, quick “I said NO!!” can accomplish a nice little piece of peace and quiet. But to just lose your temper and start spouting off nonsense is not productive. So why do I let myself get to that point? I like to blame my kids. Don’t they know when to stop? Can’t they see that I am about to blow??? If only they had stopped asking to do that thing that they are not allowed to do 10 times ago, I would have kept my sanity in tact. It is totally their fault. Right??
One time I even threw my favorite pair of designer sunglasses at a wall and broke them. Not proud of that one. That was a BIG wake up call for me. (Unfortunately I have had several of those) Favorite sunglasses ruined, kids stunned, me shamed, and absolutely nothing accomplished.
I am hard on myself about the yelling. It is not my favorite behavior. Just to be clear, I might yell .9% (that is POINT 9) of our time together, but when it happens it causes 99% of my motherly guilt. I am not a hitter, I don’t know how people can do that to their children. I have seen the movies and those innocent eyes staring back at the camera asking “why me, what have I done?” is enough to break anyone. How a parent can continue to hit their children is beyond me. But alas, it happens and I hope those parents feel the heavy heavy guilt of it and are on their knees in prayer to change it. However, I have been in mommy-meltdown-mode situations before in which I could see where, in a hitting home, insert-blow-here would occur. I can see the situation where a parent might get hot enough to hit or shake, but I can absolutely refrain. Why then, can’t I refrain from yelling at high octane moments?
I used to think I was going to ruin Number 1. Several years ago, I was admitting my fault, as I am prone to do, to a sweet mild-tempered friend, and she told me that I could not possibly be ruining her yet. She was much too young to remember. See, that is the kind of friend I like right there!! I assure you that this particular friend was appalled. She is a soft-spoken, non-yeller. But she didn’t beat me down and make me question myself. Her words were sweet but sharp enough for me to hear them. It was high time for me to get my patience under control before she WAS too old to remember.
It became very clear to me that I could not take this on alone. I love my children beyond words, as all mommy’s do. There was no joy or satisfaction after a good yell. So, I turned to my amazing Savior and begged, on my knees, for help. I asked my precious prayer warriors that love me to pieces, to pray for me. I was specific, I told them I need help with patience and I can’t do it alone.
I promise you, it is only after I admitted that it was something I needed help with and began fervent prayer over it that I saw incredible change. I found myself speaking softly, smiling while disciplining and being patient enough to stop and explain the big “whys” to them at the same time. I started giving them choices to make and guiding them to choose the right ones. I started letting them mess up and not yelling at them for it, simply helping them understand how they could have made it easier on themselves (and me). Instead of yelling at them to “STOP YELLING AT EACH OTHER”, I said things like “show each other God’s love” and “Be a blessing.” Amazing how these positive words can do amazing things. I did not read a great parenting book, I was given strength to do it with His help. Some of you do not believe in all that. I am sorry for those of you that don’t know where to turn. Maybe you should give it a whirl. The Bible is, afterall, our greatest Life’s Little Instruction book!
I still mess up a lot. I get the crazy idea in my head, time after time, that I have it figured out enough to be on my own now. It loses its top priority, no, it completely falls off of my prayer list. I start to feel rage boil up inside again, I find myself losing control again. I have had to make this a constant prayer, every day, all day, forever.
I still mess up a lot, but I am careful and mindful. I can’t remember the last time I BLEW up and spouted on for lengthy bouts at my babies. I am quick to apologize for ridiculous behavior. I have had to apologize too many times to Number 1 for me to admit. Which has in turn taught her to be a great apologizer. So, score one for Truthful Mommy’s fault, at least! God has a way of turning our flaws into teachable moments sometimes.
Be sure, I still give the occasional nice sharp reminder that I AM in charge and I CAN lose it if I have to. But our house is much more lovely than it started out and this Truthful Mommy is always on her knees in prayer for patience. I still get impatient, I still get ugly, and my house still has PLENTY of chaos. But now I say things through gritted teeth and a smile.