Like tonight. After supper Paul headed out the door to a baseball game, and the kids and I took advantage of this gorgeous summer evening and went for a bike ride. It was wonderful. Hot sun, fun parks, great kids.
Then we got home and tried to get ready for bed.
It was going to be a sweet time with pj's and ice cream, but alas, one kid spilled ice cream all over his pj's, one kid wouldn't stop picking flowers long enough to come eat her melting bowl of ice cream, one kid was telling everyone else what to do, and one kid spilled his milk all over the floor.
But let's be real here. This has nothing to do with each of these kids, and everything to do with their mother. Their mom was just downright "done" with the day and chose to react badly to very simple, no-big-deal situations.
There was really nothing to get upset about. But I yelled. And you know what I got mad about? The art all over the counter that hadn't been picked up before supper, and thus, was making it hard for the little boy to place his glass of milk anywhere on the counter...which led to it spilling all over the floor.
That may sound legit. (Except not, because is yelling ever?)
But it was actually my fault. I was a blind jerk when I yelled at my kids, because really, most of the counter was covered in MY mess, not theirs. Oh sure, their art was messy too, but their art mess wasn't nearly as big as the mess of grocery bags that hadn't yet been emptied, unopened mail, garage sale labels, and dirty dishes that were creating a much larger problem on our kitchen counter. And yet I blamed them. Jerk.
What a way to ruin a perfect summer evening, Mom. Two girls in tears, one girl throwing away her unfinished art project, and one boy who didn't get to drink his milk.
You think I'm a jerk. Yes. I certainly can be one.
A short while later the evening somberly ended with me asking for forgiveness and big hugs and kisses and assuring my daughter that I want her to remake her art project again tomorrow. It ended okay. It ended with my children seeing full well for the millionth time that their mama is a sinner and needs a Savior.
But I'm still down about it. And the extrovert in me needs to talk (type) it out to help me process.
Do you know that beautiful old Jewel song, on her Pieces of Me album from like 20 years ago, with the lyrics, "Please be careful with me; I'm sensitive, and I'd like to stay that way"? I wish I could write those words on my children's foreheads, so I could see the reminder every single moment to be careful with them. Careful with my words and my voice and my actions and my attitude. I know I shouldn't need the constant reminder. But I do.
Sometimes, indeed, parenting kicks my butt. It takes all of me and more of me than I even have within me. It takes more brainpower than I have, more patience than I have, WAY more compassion than I have (I suck at compassion), more love than I have, more discipline than I have, more problem-solving than I have, more everything, actually.
(I mean, obviously it's the greatest thing ever too, but it's certainly the hardest thing.)
If you read my blog you know that usually I try to wrap up each blog with some sort of meaning. I don't really have one tonight. Except this: I know that I'm a prime example of someone who posts really happy fun smiley pictures all over facebook. I mean, my life is wonderful. My kids rock, my husband rocks, and we have tons of fun together.
But sometimes on social media, we can give or receive the illusion of perfection. Yet we all know that none of us are. No matter how many picnic and lake pictures I post on facebook, sometimes parenting just kicks my butt. And I hurt my children's feelings. And I yell at fragile children when really my messes are so much bigger than theirs. And I act as if spilled milk is something over which to get my panties all in a bunch. And I'm selfish and immature. And my eight year old is more mature than I as she calmly states, "Mom, it doesn't really matter whose elbow knocked over the milk." And my children become my teachers as they are often wiser and more patient and far more compassionate that I am.
And I need a Savior.
Because sometimes parenting kicks my butt.