A friend of mine commented to me about how great it was that I could have a sense of humor about the "Product Testing" that took place the other day. She herself is a first time mommy to a 18 month old. I remember those days and I knew that I needed to be completely honest with her.
My reaction the other day, without even thinking of it was to grab the camera. I knew I would find a scenario just like it was. I was able to chuckle about it even as I was snapping pictures. But, I did also feel overwhelmed by the mess, a tidge angry at my 3 year old son (he's been doing a lot a misbehavin' lately), and mostly frustrated with myself for not doing a better job at monitoring these little guys. And just in case you're wondering, their consequence was to take a shower with me without bath toys (tough, I know, NOT!). All in all, I remained calm, and took it in stride. But, it hasn't always been that way. I haven't always been that way.
When my oldest was about 18 months she got into some nail polish. She got it everywhere: on herself, on her clothes, on the furniture and on the carpet. It was the darkest hot pink you could imagine. I was LIVID. Really. I became so angry with her I was afraid I was going to hurt her. By the grace of God, I made some acceptable decisions. First, I removed her from my presence. I put her in the empty bath tub. Second, I called in backup. My husband came home right away to help. Third, I stayed on the phone with another adult to keep myself accountable and busy. By the time my husband got home with 3 large bottles of nail polish remover, I was calm enough to help clean up without doing harm.
That wasn't the last time I got angry with my kids. Anger is a problem for me. I've made some mistakes, but I recognize when it's time to call for help and remove myself from a situation to calm down. That in and of itself is the grace of God. And it has been a constant struggle for me to curb my anger, to deal with it constructively and in a healthy way. I can't tell you how many times I have fallen on my face before the Lord and asked Him to take this from me. God is faithful. He is helping me to find grace and mercy when I want to be angry. He is teaching me self-control. Do I still blow it? Yes, absolutely. Many times I have had to ask forgiveness, both from God and my family. It's humbling to go to your child and say that Mommie's behavior was wrong, that it was not how Jesus wanted me to handle it, and ask their forgiveness as well.
I know that anger is not everyone's struggle, but I didn't want my friend to be mislead by thinking that my sense of humor in Tuesday's situation was anything other than the grace of God present in my life. And that it has literally taken me years to get to the point where I could chuckle about it even while feeling frustration.
Being a stay-at-home-mom is a huge job. And sometimes it can be overwhelming. I'd hate for anyone to look at my life and think I had it all together (I'm cracked, remember?), especially in an area in which I struggle so much. There are also tools to help. I've been able to learn some great skills for parenting from The Love and Logic Institute that have changed me and the way I parent.