My eyes cloud over as tears threaten to break fourth from the massive dam right below the surface. My jaw tightens at the sudden feeling of being a failure and that of all things, I’m losing it over my water jug being spilled all over the carpet. I blink back hard and try and take a deep breath, reminding myself that it’s just water, a simple towel thrown over and stepped on is all that is needed. Though my head is pounding trying to see reason, the screaming voices keep flying out of control right beneath the surface. “This is the 5th time I’ve told you—don’t touch my water!” “Why can’t you just listen to me?” “Am I not being hard enough on correcting?” “What am I doing wrong?” “Will you ever just behave?” Why do you have to test the limits of every single thing?” “I don’t have the energy for this!” My anger starts rising and frustration takes over reasoning as I snatch the water from my almost two year old daughter, slam it back on the counter, hearing myself yell “Stop! Stop! NOO!” while swinging her around to sit back down on the couch. Looking back at her ready to unleash all my frustration, one look in her eyes and I realize I’ve done it again, I’m out of control. Regret and failure immediately wash over me. I reach for her hand, saying “I’m sorry! Here, let’s clean this up,” while throwing a clean towel, from the pile of laundry I had just finished folding. Gently I pull her over to step on the towel to get all the water out of the carpet. The incident is immediately forgotten by my sweet baby girl as she goes back to playing, but my mind is still raging with questions and the feeling of failure as I continue to fold clothes. Looking over I see my new baby boy quietly stretching on the floor, completely oblivious to the chaos happing right next to him. “Oh Lord,” I pray “How am I supposed to be a good mom? I feel like I am going to completely mess them up. I can’t do this!”
Being a mom is hard! No matter how many books we read, or lists of do’s and don’ts we read off Pinterest, or how hard we try to get a good night’s rest to help control our attitude and our words. There will be days (sometimes lots of days) that we don’t get enough sleep, if any, and are running on empty. It’s those times that we need to hand it over to Jesus even more. When we mess up, when we fail—which we all do--not to be too proud to go to our kids and say we’re sorry and ask their forgiveness.
That being said, here are a few tips that have helped me in my two short years of being a mom. When I find my temper is flaring, my patience is running out and all I seem to be doing is saying “no, no, no, don’t, don’t, don’t, STOP!” Here is what sometimes works for us:
Get out of the house!
Sometimes, fresh air is all that is needed, to cool off the jets for a bit and let the steam out. Not to mention the exercise for your kiddos lets them exert some of their never ending energy. Even just a short walk around the house or around the block does a great deal to improve everyone’s moods.
Invite another mom or friend over, or see if you can go to their house.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, because I constantly have this battle in my own mind. But my house is a MESS and with even more kids it’s NEVER going to get cleaned or at least will take FOREVER! Getting all my kids rounded up and into the car just to go play for a little bit before a meltdown happens is just a waste of time. You know what I find is interesting though? Once you get pass all the excuses of why it won’t work to have anyone over and just invite them anyways, even between the 3-6+ kids and only two adults it seems to always work out just fine. I know for me, my spirits are always lifted just to be able to talk to someone else you truly gets it…even if it’s just about the weather and exchanging “my kids are worse than your kid” horror stories.
Get your kids involved.
Many times, I find when I’m getting frustrated, it’s because I’m trying to get something done and my kids keep interrupting and getting in the way. I will always remember what one of my college professors taught me. Laundry, dishes, messy floors, ect. will always be there, but your kids won’t. It’s our job as parents to raise our kids up and to teach them. So, even though it may take twice as long, not get done how we might like, or how we would do it, sometimes it’s more important to teach our kids how, by doing it with them. Even if it’s just letting your two year old play in the sink water while you’re washing dishes. You will never get today back to do again, so enjoy the time with your kids while you can. Slow down, take a deep breath, or lots of deep breaths, and try and remember what it was like as a child. Let them be a part of your world and not just see them as a nuisance or a hindrance to what you want to do.
Melody, a proud mother of three beautiful, adventurous children and the wife of one very loving and caring husband. Molded, daily, by the Maker of the Universe and longing to become more like Him.