Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rambling as I wander through this Mom Thing

When I look ahead to my future and think about all the things I could possibly do to screw up my kids the one that chills me to the bone is thinking about having the type of relationship with my kids where we can't talk and we don't get along. I think I could forgive and my kids would forgive me for making them dress like losers, not doing their hair just so, not paying attention to them which results in a broken bone here or there... those kinds of things make for funny after-the-fact stories. Being the person in my adult-child's life that really gets under their skin, always thinking I know what's best for them, always being the one most critical of them, blah, blah, blah.... that. scares. me.

And what makes me think that if I am like that now, suddenly when she is five we will both agree to start fresh in our relationship and there will be mutual respect? What about being like that and suddenly getting a do-over when she is 16? 18? How about 20? How about when she gets married? Has a baby? Nope. I don't want to be that mom. I'm not going to not-be-that-mom at the expense of swinging the pendulum to the opposite extreme, but I don't want to be that mom.

Last summer, it was easy for me to say that my relationship to Christ was not dependent on my circumstances; that someone else's sin was going to force me into sin myself. I'm not going to make light of the situation, but it's almost like that answer was so obvious because the trial was so HARD. But this everyday stuff just seems so much more... tricky. Today I had a few revelations as I chewed on everything that was talked about at church.

If Joy is a result of obedience and you can't have joy without obedience (because obedience allows us to abide with Christ, abiding with Christ or walking in the Spirit, and the FRUIT of the Spirit is all the usual suspects; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control...) the same can be said of patience, gentleness--two things I have been lacking lately, mostly with the 3-year-old.

I have not been enjoying Aayla lately. I love her to death. I like her immensely. She has just been so hard to be around. These don't define her, but it seems like lately they have become a norm: She is argumentative. She is so emotional. She is so ridiculously detailed. She does it all on her very own, specific terms. She tells you each bullet point of those terms as S L O W L Y as she can, with hand gestures emphasizing her passion... despite the fact that the house is burning down around her and she just needs to get out already.  Oh wait. I just crossed over into how I feel about the situation. Try that again. She is three. She has been driving me nuts. Conversations go like this;
Ace: "Mom, let me tell you this--"
Me: "Ace, go put your shoes on."
Ace: "But Mom, let me tell you this. See, first I wanted a glass of water--"
Me: "Ace, get a glass of water after you get your shoes on."
Ace: "But Mom, I already GOT the water, LET ME TELL YOU--"
Me: "Acey, your brother is screaming, your sister took her pants off AGAIN. Please just get your dang shoes on and we'll talk about your glass of water in a second."
Ace: "MOM. I'm TELLING YOU--"
Me: "ACE. GET. YOUR. SHOES. ON. Your sister just took a permanent marker to my wall and your brother is eating choking hazards. I can't watch you put your shoes on, so OBEY. PUT THEM ON.
Ace: "MOM. FIRST I WANTED A GLASS OF WATER.  THEN I PULLED THE CHAIR--"
Me: "Acey. I love you. I don't care about the chair. I care that you aren't listening to me. GET YOUR SHOES ON."
Ace: "I THREW THEM AWAY BECAUSE I GOT THEM WET BECAUSE I DUMPED GATORADE ON THEM. BECAUSE I POURED GATORADE. BECAUSE THE WATER WAS EMPTY. BECAUSE YOU DIDN"T FILL IT. BECAUSE YOU WOULDN"T GET ME WATER. BECAUSE I WAS THIRSTY."
Me: "So You are saying you made a big mess?"
Ace: "MOOOOOOOOM."

I am not proud of it. I know the mom that I'd like to be; and that is not the mom that I am. There is just so much that has to happen in a day... and I just deleted a whole two paragraphs defending myself against your thoughts that I should just do less in a day to take the pressure off. Go ahead and shut your mouth. Things would stop functioning around here. Today I have; fed kids, clothed kids, laundry, budget, picked up, dishes, folded some clothes, dr appt, lunched the kids, gotten everyone down for a nap, called the insurance company, got ace off to dance, made dinner, made the kids eat the dinner, ran errands, put kids to bed, put away groceries, prepped dinner for tomorrow. There is a load in the wash that has been sitting there for two days. My house is trashed but I'm too pooped and am now blogging. Things fall apart when I slow down. Thats the season of life. And people not in this season forget what it is like. It is busy. I have to find a way to deal with it. I can deal with it, I just want to deal with it better.

Sorry. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. So today I told myself that I was going to stop trying to be the mom that I want to be. Instead, I was just going to be obedient to what I know God expects in speech, action, and thought. Ya know what? It was easy to be kind to Aayla. It was easy to listen to her. It was easy to enjoy her. It was easy nurture her today. And? I still got a million things done. They still covered themselves in black pen & green marker in an attempt to camouflage themselves. Asher still pooped through his clothes. Ameira still wet her pants while we were out and about, highlighting the fact that I'm an idiot and didn't have backup clothes. Aayla got more time-outs today but they were timely and calmly given for not listening. Chaos still happened. Chores still happened. However, I had joy. Aayla had joy.

I want to listen to her as a 3-year-old in order to train myself to listen to her as she grows. I don't want to miss out on knowing her and learning from her because I am so focused on what needs to happen. She's a pretty cool kid that has really important and worthwhile stuff to say, even as a 3-year-old. Especially as a three-year-old. There was one time today that I almost lost it when I wanted to get out the door and she said, "Mom..." My head told me she was going to rabbit-trail down some long and winding nonsense. Instead, I let her finish. "Mom... I just wanted to say that I really do love you." Had I cut her off at "Mom..." I would have lost that moment.


Parents, don't provoke your children unto wrath.
Be kind to everyone...

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