Keeping on the topic of conversation, today the book centered on the verse Matthew 12:34-"Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." This means that what I am feeling will affect what I say, and in turn, what I say will affect how I feel.
Tonight the lesson spoke to me pretty deeply, because I was having a truly rough day in the parenting department. Both of my kids are always full of energy, they are both highly independent, and they are both so stinkin' stubborn. (Thanks a lot, Daddy.) And while I am thrilled with the fact that they are both such capable, driven little people, they are a pain in the backside to discipline.
"Jack don't climb on that. Jack, you need to let Mommy help you buckle. No, Son, you cannot have a "lolli" at 7:30am. Bubba, that is not a ball." (Or maybe you can relate better to some of these.) "Samantha, sweetheart, that outfit doesn't match and your pants are on backwards. Sammi, you need to let Mommy fix your hair. Sambug, please put your brother down. No!No!Sammi! Mommy will take Bubba out of the crib. Child, you need to eat real food...no, fruit snacks are not real food."
None of these were examples of blatantly disobeying the rules, so you can only imagine what that is like...
But in case you are not too good with creative imaginings, let me give you two real examples from today:
1. Tonight Jack decided he wanted to take a bath with his sister, right after I had gotten him dried off and ready for bed...completely clothed in fleece pajamas.
2. Sammi has had a bit of a runny nose lately. Tonight, I guess she couldn't find a Kleenex, so she took the bottom of my shirt and blew her nose right into it. Then later, I found her picking her boogers and wiping them all over the furniture.
Suffice it to say, I am frazzled the majority of my day. And unfortunately, my words usually end up reflecting the way I feel. I think it is not so much the words I say as it is my volume and my tone that are getting the better of me. Right now I am always on high alert and in a constant state of stress--it is just the nature of the circumstance we are in right now. My mind is going a million miles a minute all of the time thinking about what I need to get done in the house, where I need to drive the kids to, who I said we would call for a playdate today, where in the world I could have put that (take your pick of missing object), what in the world the kids are getting into, why Sammi is screaming this time, what Jack must have fallen off of to make him cry like that---I could go on and on and on.
Sometimes, I feel like there is so much on my plate that I could just sit down and cry. Usually, though, I don't do that. I truck on through my day and let all of the franticness settle inside me...until the kids misbehave. Then KABOOM! All of the pent up emotions explode out of me and right onto them.
I don't want to yell at them. It just happens. But have you noticed how once you yell your frazzled feelings actually turn to anger? I promise you, at one point today I yelled at Sammi for pulling flower petals off of the flowers in a vase and scattering them all over the carpet in her room and by the end of it I was shaking so bad I thought I was going to have to drink a glass of wine at 2:30 in the afternoon just to bring my blood pressure back down. (I didn't, but boy did I feel like it!)
So here is my prayer for myself. (And if you are a praying person, I would really appreciate it if you would adopt it as your prayer for me too.) When I am feeling frazzled and my children act out like all children are sure at some point to do, please God, let me step back from the situation--if only for the briefest moment-- to let myself take a few deep breaths. Please let the words that come from my mouth and the tone in which I say them always come from a controlled place. Never let what is intended to be corrective end up becoming destructive. And please help me always remember that I am teaching my children how to be like You through my example, both in the words I say and the way in which I say them. Let them never doubt how much I love them. Amen.