I did a major mommy no-no today. I don't know what was going on. All three of us--Adela, Micaela, and I--fell head-first into a major Monday morning grump funk.
It was bad.
Micaela wouldn't stop screaming. I checked her for broken bones, rising temperatures. I tried pushing food and water. I read books and suggested toys. She was one horribly mad toddler.
Adela was worse. Adela defiantly disagreed with everything I did: my cleaning, my attempts to soothe Micaela, my attempts to interest Adela in a fun activity. She didn't want to do anything except what was off limits. By the time the clock struck 10am, she had probably spent an entire hour in time-out.
And I couldn't do it anymore.
I slammed the baby gate into place, dumped the girls into their new gated community, and stomped outside to breath fresh air. It took two trips around the driveway before my heart opened enough for me to pray.
God, I don't know what else to do. I'm trying everything. I feel like my brain is going to explode. How can I get them to stop? I can't spend my day like this. What is wrong with them?
Stop fixing them.
God's answers sometimes take a moment to seep in. I walked around a bit more.
Okay, then. So...I will just go in there...and give them snack?
I took another lap around the driveway and asked God to fill me with His love.
Venturing back into the living room, Micaela and Adela fought over some animals strewn across the couch. Quietly I took out graham crackers, spread them with peanut butter, and dusted them with sparkling red sugar. I prepared two cups, princess plates, and a serving platter and told the girls it was snack time.
Instead of going to the kitchen I brought the food to them, set their little kid table, and served them snack.
Micaela was immediately quiet. It was the first time I had made her eat at that table, not ever trusting her to sit long enough in the little green chairs. Adela grinned, placed her hands in her lap, and very deliberately began to say "please" and "thank you" and tell me how wonderful her food was.
And the funk ended.
I don't know if it was low blood-sugar or the novelty of something new, but my girls needed that fun tea-time with Mommy serving them their food and smiling. Micaela sampled everything and Adela made me feel like I hadn't yet failed as a mother.
And God was right. I couldn't have got us out of that funk unless I had stopped trying to fix them.
I think that often the most damaging thing I do as a mother is look at my girls and think that all their moments of misbehavior is my fault. I look at them pushing boundaries or trying to make sense of their world and I feel like I'm failing.
I can imagine that today while I stomped around the driveway, God had his arm around my shoulder, gave me a big squeeze, and said, "Stop being so hard on yourself."
That being said, I was so thankful for naptime.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
How can you learn to look at your children's imperfections objectively instead of viewing them through self-condemnation? What God-truths help you keep a healthy emotional and spiritual balance while you parent?
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"...and God was already there with me."