Monday, March 12, 2012

Moment by Moment

What follows is some serious soul-searching interspersed with cute pictures of my kids. Bear with me.

I feel ashamed to admit how often I lose my cool around my children.  In all honesty, not losing my cool at least once during the day is a rare exception. Not only do these kids know a great deal about how to push my buttons, but they are also extremely irrational. The combo of the two is a sure fire way to bring out what I call "Mean Mommy."
Holy cow!
I've been mulling this over a lot lately.  Some days are just bad.  One day in recent memory was particularly bad. It started off with an incident at Hobby Lobby that culminated in my screaming at my kids in the car.  It was not a proud moment.  There is nothing that makes me feel worse than raising my voice to my children.
Did you say something, Mama?
There are days when I feel like every moment (literally every moment) I am making a conscious choice to be the parent I want to be and not the alternative: that red faced, screaming, growling, mean mommy that I don't even recognize myself in.  I don't want my children to remember that person.
We're too busy watching TV to look at the camera.
So, I've been working on strategies to help keep Mean Mommy at bay.  One such strategy is anticipation: remembering what is going to set them off (or myself) before it happens. That is way easier said than done.  Another is recognizing that I'm not dealing with rational human beings. I'm dealing with people who are emotionally volatile, underdeveloped and short. People who have no idea from one second to the next what they really want or need.
I need your camera, Mama.
My last thing: Attitude and a huge dose of perspective.  There is so much that happens during the day, so many things that irk me that really aren't that important when I keep the proper perspective.
I was privileged to teach a lesson to a group of women and young girls at church on Sunday entitled "What matters most." During the lesson I asked a question that I'm not even sure I was prepared to answer for myself:
What excuses do you cling to that keep you from being the kind of daughter, sister, friend, wife or mother you know you should be? 
It's so easy to come up with excuses for why I lost my cool.  I'm tired, I'm hungry, they won't listen, I have too much that needs to get done today, they won't cooperate, there's pee on the floor, they made a huge mess, she has to touch everything, I can't take the whining, etc...
I'm buttering you up.
Why do I cling to my excuses for having a bad attitude when there is so much joy to be had in each moment?  
Joy is a Star Wars ABC book.
I need to remember that my time with these little ones is short. It won't be long before they are out of my arms and into the world where I can't protect them. There will come a time when I don't get to see their sweet little faces every day; a time when they don't want Eskimo kisses or to be picked up and just held. There will be a time when they don't think I'm hilarious anymore and when they won't seek me out for comfort. A time when the Spider Man costume gets put into storage along with the baby dolls and loveys. A time when they simply grow-up.
So what am I teaching them now?  What do they learn when they see me throwing temper tantrums over things that just don't matter? They are watching me every second and learning how to respond to the situations they'll encounter as they make their way in the world. I'm responsible for that.  It's my job to make the decision every moment to be the mom I want to be.

Have a Happy Day!


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