The night was going smooth… too smooth almost. I found myself wondering when things were going to erupt. I made dinner that my children ate. I prepared a fun treat that my children waited patiently for. We did a bath with no meltdowns, and no poop in the tub, which seems to be rare these days. My children sat wrapped in their towels and watched a show while I drained the tub, got their beds ready and picked out jammies. After getting ready for bed they ran chasing each other through the house, a last minute energy release before bed time. They helped me clean up toys and climbed on to the couch for story time. We read a story, said our prayers, and made our way to the bed room to get tucked in. My daughter (3.5yrs) made her final potty stop while I shared some sweet snuggle time with my little guy (22mo). When she finished going potty she climbed into bed where I knelt beside her holding my son and sang our traditional “night-night song”. We exchanged hugs and kisses and I tucked my little man into bed.
That’s when it all started to fall apart.
I could hear my daughter trying to say something to me but I was in denial that she actually “needed” anything else. She had gone potty, she had her blankey, her ice (she has this thing where she gets hot and wants an icy teething ring), she had already gotten her drink of water, we read our story, sang our song, said good night. All of the usual, “mommy you forgot ____” items were accounted for. I began to panic as I wondered what on earth could she possibly be whispering for?
I finished tucking my son in and anxiously made my way to my daughter, my brain was going a million miles a second as I searched for a possible answer to a question I wasn’t even sure of yet, kneeling beside her all I could make out was, “mommy I pee already” What?!? Surely she couldn’t be saying she needed to pee… it had literally been 3 minutes since she went to the potty. “What?” I asked. “I pee already.” Getting frustrated I asked, “Did you pee in your pull up?” “No!” She said with a whinny, how can you not understand what I’m saying, tone. “Do you have to go pee again?” “Yeeesss…” she said with a whine and a tone of relief.
And then for no good reason at all, I lost it.
“Whaaaattt!?! You have to pee?!? You just went potty before you got into bed!!!”
And then I ripped the covers off of her and yanked her into the bathroom.
“Sit down and go potty!!!” I shouted.
I continued, “You are supposed to go potty before you get into bed! We had done so good getting to bed and then you have to go potty again… three minutes later!! What in the world?!”
What in the world is right… but should be directed toward MY behavior!
Seriously… why did I have to lose it like that? Am I really that much of a ticking time bomb that the smallest thing can just set me off? Not cool… not cool at all.
It didn’t take me anytime at all to realize that MY behavior was totally out of line. So as my innocent little angel sat scared on the potty I pulled up the stool and sat next down in front of her. Looking deep in her eyes I could see her terror and confusion.
I stroked her hair while encouraging her to breathe and let herself go potty. I told her that I loved her very much and that she was a good girl. With this I could see the tension release from her shoulders as she finished going potty.
When I tucked her into bed I patted her head and again told her how sorry I was for yelling and reiterated how much I love her and am proud of her.
She smiled and said, “Thank you mommy… I love you too… So much.”
How beautiful that this precious little person can so easily forgive. How beautiful that true repentance on my part sparked such pure and easy forgiveness from a three year old. Talk about humbling.
Meanwhile, I want to get to the bottom of this ticking time bomb thing. That is most certainly NOT how I want to live my life and is NOT the example I want to lead for my children.
Have you ever lost it with your children?
I am sharing this real and raw account of my imperfection as a mommy to hopefully offer some encouragement if you have. Maybe you are still struggling with the guilt that so easily coincides. Apologize to your children and ask for their forgiveness… ask God for His forgiveness… and then be sure and forgive yourself too.
You are not perfect. No one is. Our imperfections as people translate differently when we become mothers. Don’t beat yourself up for failing from time to time. Show yourself mercy, God does… and your children do too. Just try not to make it a habit and if you see a bad habit forming (like I have with myself) surrender it to God and seek His guidance on how to fix it. He WILL give you strength and the tools you need to improve. He is faithful. You are not alone. . .
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the grace you show us as we try to navigate through this whole mommy thing. We thank you that we can come to you for strength, peace, comfort as we aim to grow as mothers. Touch each mama out there now who may be feeling discouraged about some of her approaches with her children. Continue to guide us and strengthen us. In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen.
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