Yesterday I yelled at my kids. Yesterday I cried myself to bed. Yesterday I lived in a state of annoyance and impatience. Today I get to remind myself that it’s all about the recovery. I am so grateful for second chances. I’m also grateful for the reminder about what is really important in good parenting. These kinds of reminders give me hope.
Parenting Discouragement Sets In
Parenting can be a roller coaster. One day your kids are delightful, and you feel completely on top of it. Other days are discouraging. It feels as though everything you have been trying to teach and develop in your children has been fruitless.
Yesterday was one of those days where I felt disheartened. Haven’t I taught them to be kind to one another? I’ve instilled what it means to be respectful and polite.
I’ve told them 1000 times that we don’t jump on the couch. How could each one of them forget this rule over and over on the same day? I’m fairly consistent with my expectations and there are consequences when they disobey.
Why are they doing gross or destructive things like biting their toe nails, flooding the bathroom with bath water and breaking their dad’s headphones? Who are these children? Oh, man, they’re mine, and I’m failing.
I tried to be a good mom yesterday. I hired a babysitter for a couple hours in the morning so I could get some things done and feel more on top of the house. I tried to play games with them but fighting with each other ensued. We ate together, but I had to constantly remind them of appropriate behavior at the table. I let them play outside to get some fresh air, but they began to show they couldn’t be trusted unless I was right by their side. I didn’t want to be right by their side anymore. I was frustrated and annoyed. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I often struggle with attitude when things go south. My attitude had turned to annoyance and anger rather than the fun mom I had planned to be that day. They knew it.
Frustrations grew and I popped. I became the mom I never want to be. I yelled at my kids. I remember telling them they were acting like animals. The disgust in my face was palpable.
My husband ended up running late because of a phone call he couldn’t exit. He came home to an absent wife. I was sitting on the couch vacantly playing a game with the kids. We had recovered slightly at this point, but I wanted nothing more than this day to be over. Weary, I laid down to pray with my five year old son, and I couldn’t stop the tears. He asked me why I was crying. I simply said, “It’s been a hard day.”
It’s All About the Recovery
Moms are not infallible. We are what some like to call “human.” Me? I wish I were superhuman. I wish I could be supermom. Maybe being supermom is more about the recovery than the sought after perfection.
What do we do when we have days like the one described above where nothing went right, and we know we parented poorly?
We Ask for Forgiveness – Asking for forgiveness is the first and most powerful step to take with your children. You’ll be amazed at how quickly children forgive, especially if this isn’t the pattern of behavior set in your home. Making relationships right is the number one priority.
We Forgive Ourselves – If you are anything like me, you are hard on yourself when you don’t do your job like you know you should. I knew I responded to my children with venom rather than grace. It’s hard when the ugly in me comes out, and I get down on myself for my lack of patience. I’m constantly over-analyzing how I’m doing as a mom. Sometimes I feel like I’m failing. I need to forgive myself and give myself grace as well.
We Seek Parenting Advice – As I have chatted with many moms over the years, the majority of women have expressed that they didn’t know how impatient they were or how easily exasperated they could become. There is great wisdom in articles like “How to Stop Losing Your Temper with Your Kids” and “How to Be More Patient with Your Kids.” If anger is a big problem for you, you may need to seek professional help so that you can do a better job teaching your kids in a calm and gentle voice. You don’t want to teach your kids that screaming is the best way to communicate when frustrated.
We Reach Our for Community – Isolating yourself is a sure-fire way to bring you further into the pit of despair. Reaching out for community is wise. First, you can observe other kids and talk to other moms to realize your kids aren’t so crazy, and you are not alone in your struggles. Parenting can just be tough, and it’s great to connect with other moms about the triumphs and challenges.
You know those moms who seem to have it all together and their kids are great? Don’t hang out with them! They’ll just make you feel worse. I’m kidding! You should hang out with them too. Observe. What kind of tips or perspective can you gain through their ways and experiences. Ask questions and be teachable because there can be real steps you need to take to make life with your kids more peaceful. It takes humility and a willingness to listen, observe and change, but I am so grateful to the mentors I have had throughout the years. Yes, I still make mistakes in the ways I interact with my kids, but I can’t imagine the train wreck my parenting might have been without the influence of the other women in my life.
We Start New – We have sought reconciliation with our kids, and we have forgiven ourselves so now it’s time to start new. Every day is a new opportunity to react to our children in the right way. Admittedly, I had been more frustrated than consistent that day. Time to buckle down and do what we need to do as a mom. For me, I had to work on an attitude change, navigating sibling fighting in a positive way, staying calm, focusing on obedience, and avoiding power struggles.
Tomorrow was ugly. Today was new. I added a bit more structure to our morning. I spent some one on one time with each child. We worked on Spanish and piano. Quiet time was enforced. Smiles were intentional. The afternoon was spent at a beach with friends where the kids looked for crabs, played in the sand, watched the trains go by and enjoyed the sunshine. We went out to dinner and ended the day well.
I did not let yesterday define my today.
Needing more encouragement? I think you would really enjoy the post, “How to Love Being a Mom.”