When I got back from vacation, my kids looked so beautiful. The Big Guy showered me with kisses and kept saying "I missed you on your vacation mommy". Spunky Girl followed me around a bit (actually pulled a chair into the bathroom when I needed to use the commode), and Sweetness wanted to tell me all about what she did while I was gone. They all looked so tall, too!
The first day, I experienced a sense of lightness in my parenting. Sure, I still had to deal with some sibling arguing, but it didn't irk me down deep. Sure, the kids were as noisy as a semi truck in a tunnel, but I didn't seem to mind. Sure, the Big Guy refused to take his nap, but I kinda wanted to play with him anyway. During dinner, Spunky girl knocked her drink over during dinner and I just grabbed a towel and cleaned it up. I didn't feel anything about that. Then she knocked her second drink over, actually into her plate this time, so I got her a second plate of food. And I didn't have any negative feelings about that. That's when I knew I was in the honeymoon period following my vacation. There is no other way to explain my lack of irritation when 2 drinks were spilled by the same child within 5 minutes.
Today (Sunday) didn't have that same lightness. Hubby was at the firehouse today, so I had the kids on my own. Getting the family ready for church this morning had its trying moments. When I tried to get myself ready for the day, the kids kept busting in and wanting me to do things for them. I felt frustration. I didn't want to be irritated at them...I just wanted them to do what I had asked them to while I finished getting my teeth brushed. And then began the correcting and repeating. "Let's get our shoes on" "Who has their shoes on?" "Please stop crying...I'll help find your shoe" "No, you can't wear crocs" "Could you please help your brother with his shoes?" "Hey, let her help. I told her to help." "No, I'll do it...just get in the car." "Just stop crying"
Sigh. I don't want it to go like that, but somehow I feel powerless to keep it from going like that. And then I feel bad about my inability to parent in such a way that avoids those moments, and that makes me angry at them too (because, even though I don't want to admit it, it is easier to be annoyed at them to admit that I feel powerless to stop the scenario from playing out).
And then suddenly, it hits me that the honeymoon period is over and from now on spilled milk is going to be just as annoying as it was before I went on vacation. I'm back to growling "Can you just give me a minute? I'm right in the middle of something" to the endless requests. And I so badly want to be the parent in the honeymoon period. The parent who can parent without so much negative emotion bubbling in my soul. The person who can correct bad behavior and encourage good behavior without having to choke down what I ought not to say.
And then I realize...that is it. No more wishing otherwise. I am going to be the parent who has to battle her irritation, temper, resentment, pride and selfishness because that is how God is making me into a better person. Only when I am faced with the reality that I am either going to battle against my limitations or I am going to fail to be the parent those beautiful children deserve do I truly go to battle against my faults. It simply isn't okay to say "well, that's just who I am" when my children deserve better. They deserve the best. God gave me those kids to raise and they will get the best mother I can make myself be.
I wrote this post and then set it aside for 2 days. That is unusual for me, but I didn't want to throw something out there that made me sound like a bad mom or that I'm always barking at my children. But it is an honest look at what I struggle with, what I wish for, and an acceptance that it is okay. And maybe admitting it to myself and all of you will make it easier to keep plowing ahead with a positive attitude. Gosh that sounded all Pollyanna...
P.S. Who uses the word "commode"?