It’s Friday night and it’s been a LONG week! Can you relate? Even as the days grow shorter in the daytime light, these last few days seem to have DRAGGED along.
The previous weekend was nice enough. My oldest had his tonsils taken out at the end of the week and my sweet mom offered to take my youngest so that we could focus on the recovery of the older. So Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were quiet and full of cuddles and movies. On Sunday, my youngest came home and while I missed her and her smiles, giggles and love, I did not miss the you’re-going-to-pay-attention-to-me! strong-willed attitude that came home with her. If you are a parent to more than one or are a sibling, then you know it is not all fun and games, but there are often times of picking, punching, screaming and crying. *SIGH*
Monday rolled around and the older got to stay home to recover and my younger had to go to school by herself. My mistake was trying to return two of her brother’s library books in her back-pack. Apparently two kindergarten/1st grade level reading books makes a back pack too heavy for a kindergartner to carry. Then came Tuesday… and Wednesday… and Thursday and this morning. Each morning was plagued with “I’m too tired” to get up, and/or shoe laces that weren’t even in length, a paper-cut on the thumb, “I don’t want to wear a jacket”.
How would you respond? Five days of “boo hoos” while going out the door trying to get to school and work on time.
Parenting is a hard road and it changes with each day and season as both children and parents grow. Recently during a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting, we talked about how women deal with conflict in relationships: The Exploder who blames others, The Exploder who blames herself, The Stuffer who builds walls and The Stuffer who saves up retaliation stones. If we are honest with ourselves, we are likely to relate to at least a couple of these and respond one way to our children, another to our husband and perhaps even another to another relationship (mom, boss, mother-in-law, etc.) in our lives.
Several mornings this week, it was not pretty at my house. “Mean mommy” came out and showed herself. I don’t like “mean mommy” anymore than my kids do. I feel certain I could have handled the situation differently, but I am NOT the perfect mom with all the answers. I can’t undo the past, but I can talk through it. The kids and I apologized to each other. And I turn to God to pray for help in navigating the tough situations as well as pray for Him to help us not be “mean” and remind us to “love one another”.
I once heard a story well before I had children about how a mom always prayed before disciplining her son. She said it often gave her a moment to calm down in the moment as she prayed for “little Johnny” who had just broken her expensive crystal vase (or something along that line)…. she was making a direct path straight for little Johnny and as he noticed this, he KNEW he was in trouble and quickly said, “Mom, let’s pray!”
God desires for us to come to Him. So whether it’s in-the-moment to ask for direction, or after-the-moment to ask for forgiveness, the important part is simply to take it to the Lord in Prayer.
How do you handle difficult conflict with your kids? Others?