Today was one of those days with my girls that I could have bottled up and saved forever. Nothing crazy happened, but we truly just enjoyed each other.
A week ago, this was not the case. Last week Friday, Belle and I had one of our many fights over clothing, as well as just getting her moving. We had had many mornings like this recently and I was becoming exhausted. Belle is easily distracted (hmmm, I have NO idea where that comes from), and in the morning it takes a lot of prompting and reminders to get her dressed, her hair done, and just basically get herself together. Sometimes just getting myself and the girls out the door makes me feel like I just ran a marathon by the time we are buckled and in the car. I have begun to set a timer for Belle. I tell her she has 3 minutes to get dressed and if it's not done by the time the timer goes off then she sits in time out. This works okay, except when she disagrees with the outfits I pick out. Then the fighting begins.
Once it is certain we are going to be late, Belle still isn't dressed, Evie is getting into everything she can, and I am feeling frantic, angry, and irritated my really ugly mommy side comes out. You all know what this means. The yelling starts and the stomping begins, which makes Belle cry more, and then I get more mad because she is crying and not getting anything done. The kicker is always when in the midst of her crying she trips and hurts herself--which means I now have to console her and I might hug her a little too tightly while clenching my teeth because it is helping me dispense my anger a little bit.
Ugh. We have had too many of these mornings lately. Last week I actually showed up at Body & Soul (late) and told my friend, Liz, that although it was 9:30 in the morning I was ready to start drinking. If I felt like this, then how in the world was Belle feeling after her mother just screamed and yelled at her and we both ended up in the car crying on the way to our destination. Needless to say, nothing is more humbling than apologizing to my three year old and her telling me "it's okay," and topping it off with a hug.
I recently asked Belle what a "mommy" was, and she replied, "a mom gets mad at me when I pee my pants." Ugh. This was how she viewed me in that moment. I don't want her to remember me as the mom who raged when we were running late or screamed at her when she wet her pants. Now, don't get me wrong... I think it is more than okay for Belle to know that I am disappointed or upset at her. It's more or less that I need to convey this with much different actions than how I have been.
I have decided that something needed to change. This past week has been loads better, but has taken some work. I hate and despise being late anywhere. It is by far one of my most anxiety producing pet peeves. I really had to think through whether or not making it somewhere on time was worth all of the drama taking place in our heart. Honestly, Belle is in preschool...why do I care so much if I am a bit late to PRESCHOOL?!?! Showing up at church, Body & Soul, or MOPS late is so not a big deal! Nobody cares if I walk in late, so why am I freaking out on my kid? Honestly, the more yelling I do doesn't make us arrive somewhere any quicker. It only helps me release my anger, but makes me feel like an awful mother in the end as I watch my three year old fall apart.
This past week at MOPS, Carolyn, one of our mentor moms read a devotional that hit me square between the eyes. It talked about how we as moms will fail. However, our children must always see our eyes light up when they walk into the room. We must always make sure we let them know how much we love them and how precious they are to us. We won't always get it right, but we must always try.
I have vowed to work on being more in control of my feelings of anger, disappointment, and beyond pissed offness. Were there days we were running late this week? Yup. Did it stress me out? Oh, yes! I just kept telling myself "it's okay, it's okay, it's not a big deal." I know I am still going to have many instances where I need to give myself a "mommy time out," and I am going to have to ask forgiveness from my sweet girl. I often have to remind myself that I am an adult and Belle has only been in this world 3 short years, so I need to get myself under control and chill out.
Belle and Evie are my favorite little people around and I never want to make them feel they are less than amazing and wonderful. I never want them to feel like their mother is more interested in getting to church on time, than about their own feelings and self-worth. I know we will have many hard days and I will fail again and again as a mom, but it will be those days that I teach my kids how to apologize and ask for forgiveness.
Thank goodness children forgive so easily and love so big.