Mean Mommy

[I wrote the bulk of this post below on Thursday night and then, before posting it, I had a conversation with a great friend on Friday morning ....

Turns out, we're struggling with the EXACT same thing with our eldest daughters, who both happen to be the same age - within a week of each other - and the same personality. While I was saddened to hear of the frustrations in her home with sassiness and talking back and raised voices and 'you're a bad mommy' kind of comments, there was a certain comfort in simply knowing that someone else out there is in the exact same boat. We both concluded that one of the areas we need to work on is giving the quality time that seem to be our daughters' love languages. And, she made a pact with her husband this week that they wouldn't raise their voices in their home that week. I like that. I think I'll do that, too. Accountability is good.

We decided that the after-school hours are the worst. We're not sure if it's weariness or hunger or the fact that they've had to be in a structured environment all day .... or realistically a combo of all-the-above ... but, we so want to do better. Anyway - read the post below and this will perhaps make more sense.]

I read this post tonight, which you really should read. Very touching. Very appropriate since I sort of had the same [but different] experience awhile back.

You see, when the noise gets loud and my house is a wreck even though it was perfectly straightened up just hours prior, and the chaos metre rises, I find myself snapping at Maddie. I think I sometimes forget that while she is six, she is ONLY six. She often gets the brunt of my frustration with Jackson and noise. I find it so intriguing that while I would consider myself a loud person - I don't do anything quietly - I really cannot handle the chaos of loud children and loud noise and chaos in general. I like order and organization ... I really like order and organization so when things get out of order and out of control I really struggle.

At one point she said, "You're a mean mommy." And stomped out of the room. [And I'll admit that her loud emphasis was on the word MEAN.]

Ouch. Hmmmmm. Sadly, she was correct.

So, I asked her to come sit in the living room, on the couch, and I started to ask her questions ... and she gave her honest little answers. She was right. I had been mean. Sharp. Irritable. Grumpy. Impatient. And she felt it. Kids are like that - they pick up on Mommy's mood.

I so agree with Courtney's words: "As parents, we have SO much influence over our kids--especially when they are young like mine. That I am the mom. I am the older, wiser mom. So if I allow this anger to get the best of me, I will, inevitably, hurt her even deeper."

So after we had our heart-to-heart, I apologized and affirmed her correct analysis of the situation [Mommy had indeed had a mean spirit and unkind tone] and we snuggled and told each other we loved each other and we read an entire Box Car Children book. What a beautiful ending to a rather rotten run-in.

I'm thankful that Maddie is so resilient. I hate that I'm not more patient with her. More soft-spoken. More able to deal with the inevitable chaos that happens with a two-year-old in the house. And as Courtney said, "I want to do better." "God, help me to do better."

Each morning since then I have asked the Lord to help me, that day, in those chaotic moments, to have extra patience and extra grace and an extra measure of ability to deal with chaos .... and I have to say, He helps. It's one of those things, though, that takes daily ~ hourly ~ minute-ly asking God for help. Again, it goes back to doing things in my own strength versus asking the Lord to work in me and change me.

Having children has really, really made me realize how far I have to grow. If you think you're perfect just have a kid and then you'll realize how very FAR away from perfection you actually are. Ya, I'm way far away..... but, taking those baby steps in the right direction! [And not that I think I'd ever reach perfection, I just often wish I was closer to the perfection end of the spectrum.]


And every time I'm feeling

oh-so-very-far-away-from-being-remotely-close-to-perfect,

I look at this picture and thank the Lord that Maddie is crazy about me and forgives me and loves me with no conditions.

Comments

Alice said…
We hold their hearts in our hands. I pray each day for grace not to screw it all up.

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