Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Humbling Night

Tonight I was too harsh with Daniel. What remorse! He had a couple minor fits before bedtime, in response to hearing no to one of his requests, and I yelled and spanked (neither of which work with him), and then took away his Homeschooling-Group Valentine Party, which was to occur this Friday. His non-cooperative offenses were just the last straw in a stress-filled day. Rather than ignore his fits, I overreacted, sinning right along with him. I know there aren't any perfect parents, but I feel like such a failure when I yell, in particularly. It solves nothing, proves nothing, and it isn't even a true consequence. Not to mention that most of us look and sound pretty ugly when we're doing it. Perhaps doing it in front of a mirror would work to curb the habit.

Thirty minutes after I finished the bedtime routine, I went back into the boys' room and said that I shouldn't have taken away the party, since we made a commitment to be there and the hostess had already purchased art supplies for their craft, and some of the children might have already made out their Valentines. I explained that I felt taking away a much-anticipated party was too much in response to a couple minor outbursts.

Unfortunately, it took me thirty minutes to right this wrong, even though I knew I was going too far as soon as I brought up the party. Admitting I was wrong was hard and humbling. As I sat and rocked Anna right after leaving their room initially, I realized that I was expecting Daniel to somehow understand how frustrating dealing with a colicky baby can be. The kids have mostly been great, given that Anna takes up most of my time. But as the fussiness continues, they are bound to rebel some. I need to be ready with a measure of grace.

Throughout the day I also felt frustrated that Emily was continually having to be gated in the playroom while I nursed or tried calming Anna Grace, who needed to be rocked for a good portion of the day. I tried the sling several times, and while it does eventually calm Anna, I have to take her out of it frequently, to either put Emily on the potty or change her training pants, etc. Slings are wonderful; I'm fortunate that it calms her. This time around though I'm finding it more awkward to use, as I try to speed through routine chores and care for a toddler.

From the time my morning sickness started last spring, this has been a rather rough ride for the family. A whole year has gone by, with a less-than-ideal child-rearing environment. There HAS been plenty of love to go around, plenty of ideal moments, mixed in with the stressful. I suppose the human-like difficulties inherent in having a larger family do provide the children a training camp for life. They have to learn to compromise, to work hard and efficiently, to put others before themselves, to stand up for what is important, and to extend mercy and grace. I have to remember that what seems ideal to me, may not be so to the Lord. My perspective is always going to be earthly and flawed. And His? Perfect and eternal.

The look on Daniel's face when I went back to their room to explain my error was one of pure relief and gratitude. He teared up and told me that he felt so much better. Then he said, "I love you, Mommy. I'll sleep so good now."

I told him I loved him too and walked back to the living room, to the rocker, to continue rocking Anna. And the peace that washed over me assured me that I'd done the right thing.


Margie said...

Oh Pam, we all have moments like this. Thank you for sharing because honestly sometimes being at home can feel isolating. It gives me comfort to know someone out there shares my struggles. I will be praying for your family and as I once told a friend, this to shall pass. Sometimes I wish I would listen to my own advice.

Jess said...

miss pam,sorry for the rough day. winter is especially wearing on the nerves as we all are house bound with children who have pent up energy. i am glad the apology did wonders for you and daniel. i am always thankful for the grace my kids so me - isaiah especially. whenever anyone apologizes to him he always says, 'that's o.k.' even while still crying! :)i hope the valentines party is a sweet time of getting out and having fun with friends for the whole family. hang in there... these days are what grace is all about. (p.s. i know what you mean about the yelling... and feeling remorseful after.)

9ndhouse- Katie said...

We definitely all have days like this and thank goodness the Lord brings that Peace when the wrongs are righted. Our kids know we aren't perfect and are learning how to respond by the way we respond, knowing Mom makes mistakes and can say sorry is a great lesson learned!

I use the word respond because one day I realized that on days like you have described here, I was reacting. I'm learning to respond, which requires a "thinking moment" and a choice in my actions instead or reacting which is usually more of an explosion! :-)

You are blessed with a sweet family! Hope the party this Friday is a sweet one!! :-)