I lost it with my kids one morning this week. Seriously LOST IT! Complete with screaming and tears (mostly mine). How did the morning go from pleasant to disaster in the span of just 15 minutes?
We were getting ready for the day. It was 15 minutes before we needed to leave for school and was finally my time to get dressed. I’d already packed lunches, served breakfast and made sure the kids were dressed. So, just a few minutes for me to finish getting ready before we ran out the door. The kids were playing together, riding their scooters around the house. Then, I saw the scooters in the bedroom, on the light color carpet – the one room the kids know scooters are not allowed. That’s how it started…
Before I knew it, there was some blatant disobeying, lying and a mommy yelling. Then, the scooters went in the recycle bin (just for a day). This only seemed to fire up the kids for more mischief. So, more antics, more yelling. Until I finally caught myself and realized I had lost it. I shooed them all out of my room and locked the door. Took a few minutes to calm down and pray for God to restore my sanity. Pray for forgiveness for my behavior this morning. Then, I sat down to finally finish getting ready – in peace.
The kids, still being mischievous, found the key to the door and came in. I hugged them and told them I was sorry for yelling. But, then they kept pushing my buttons – and now we were running late for school. And, I still had to stop by the grocery to buy a plant for Ryan’s class project. So, I fell apart again – this time in tears. Tears from the stress of these past 15 minutes. Tears of disappointment in myself. Tears that I couldn’t get my own kids to behave for a measly 15 minutes!
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My daughter told me, “Mommy, it’s OK.” I replied, “No, it’s not OK”.
“It’s not OK that you didn’t do what I asked. That you disobeyed me.”
“But, more than that, it’s not OK that I yelled at you. That I overreacted and got so upset.”
“It’s not OK that we’re not treating each other with love this morning. It’s not OK for us to act this way as a family.”
As I sat crumpled on the floor in defeated tears, I felt guilty and a failure. This wasn’t the kind of mom I want to be. How could I claim to be faithful if I lost it and yelled at my kids? If I call myself a Christian shouldn’t I be better than this?
But, isn’t this part of what grace is all about? No matter how much we grow in our faith, we will still mess up. We still sometimes do the wrong things, say the wrong things, make mistakes. The growth is learning to recognize the sin and confess it. To stop ourselves and say “I’m sorry”. It’s when we admit our failures and apologize that we can receive God’s grace. Grace that God still loves us and forgives us. Then, we can pick ourselves up and try not to do that mistake again.
I spent my drive to work in prayer, asking God to forgive me and guide me to be a better, more patient parent. I examined the events of the morning and was able to see how much I’d overreacted. Did it really matter that the scooters were in my bedroom if the kids were having fun? Instead of allowing the stress of the morning rush to influence me, what if instead I could listen to their laughter and be thankful? Be thankful that I have two beautiful children. Be thankful that they play together. Be thankful that we’re rushing out of the house to get to work and school because we are so blessed with great schools and a job that pays the bills.
I have to admit, I really didn’t want to post this story, but I felt God encouraging me that I needed to share. Needed to share encouragement that we all have these moments and that’s part of being human. But, as we grow in our faith, we learn better ways to handle ourselves when these moments happen. We learn to catch ourselves sooner, before we continue too far down the path. We learn to turn to God in prayer and admit where we’ve fallen short. We learn to ask God for help to do better next time and to accept His grace when we fall short. And we learn to be more forgiving of ourselves and each other. None of us are perfect, but at least we’re trying.
So, I’ll start again tomorrow. Start again to be more patient. Start again to look for God in their faces and be thankful. Start again to show them love in everything I do – even when they wear down my last nerve. I’ll keep starting again and again and again and allow God to use these moments of failure to refine and improve me.
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Sabra Penley says
Kathryn, thank you for sharing your heart and being transparent. I feel confident in saying that there isn’t a mother alive who hasn’t experienced this same scene a number of times (if she hasn’t, it’s probably because her one child is still a newborn). We’ve all been there. And as a mom whose kids are now grown adults, let me say I messed up more times than I think I did a good job. But I see my children now, how they love the Lord and how they live their lives. They see us in our sinfulness, but what really impresses their souls is seeing us ask forgiveness and grow in our walk with the Lord. Sinfulness is common and they will see it in everyone. But repentance is rare in this world, and learning the love of God through forgiveness and humility and grace has a lasting affect on an impressionable soul. May the Lord bless you as you lead your little ones. And, by the way, they are adorable!
My post and yours are a perfect pairing! Remember, tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it!
[email protected] says
Hang in there, friend! Keep your eyes on that far off goal of shaping their character … I remember those days well. And there was no online support to help me keep my sanity!
Thanks! Parenting is SO hard sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I’m confident God will use this story to bring peace to other mommas. It brought to mind some of the times I had raising my girls. God is good to forgive and kids are so much like Him. They forgive and forget, just like our Heavenly Father. ~Blessings, Pamela
Yes – thank God for His forgiveness – and the forgiveness of our children! Learning that we’ll make lots of mistakes as parents and need to have the grace to forgive ourselves too.
Mary Hill says
I am a complete failure too in the mornings. I try and try, but get panicked when it is time to leave if everything is not in order. I yell if she doesn’t obey me. I so identify. I think you will have more and more though. We are human and we make mistakes. Grace abounds. I don’t want to yell or get angry. I pray everyday for new ways to handle situations. I just forgive myself, tell my daughter I am sorry and pick up and try again. I tell her like her I am only human. I don’t make excuses. I tell her I failed and did wrong and that I ask God for forgiveness and He is just and loving and He will forgive me. Just like He will forgive her if she asks Him and confesses to Him. We teach our children about real grace and love when we fail.
Lux Ganzon says
This is a very honest post. And you’re right. Your kids look innocent here. Like they can’t make you lose your temper or something. 😀
Cheryl Smith says
Oh, they are adorable! I am so thankful for your transparency and humility. We are all in this together. We all mess up, and yes, you are right, that is what grace is all about. God bestows it lavishly and freely upon us, but we, too often, extend none at all to ourselves. The Lord showed me one time, (in one of my many moments of falling completely short of His grace), that it’s OKAY for us to be human in front of our children. It is all a teaching process. They need to know that Mommy is human, that she messes up and makes mistakes, but that she asks for forgiveness when she is wrong, and she pulls herself up by the bootstraps and keeps pressing on, regardless. They need to know what forgiveness means…both by receiving it AND by extending it. It sounds to me like you are an awesome Mom, who loves her kids more than words. You are doing an amazing job, and you have nothing to regret. So thankful to have met you and to have found your beautiful blog. 🙂 MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your precious family!!!
Thank you! This was one of the hardest posts I’ve written – and one I desperately didn’t want to write 🙂 Yet, as much as I wish I could keep ‘monster mommy’ from appearing, I know it’s just part of our human life. And, just maybe, as you say, I’m able to model how to say ‘I’m sorry’ and start over with a fresh heart. So glad you stopped by today! My heart needed to hear your words today.
Beth Willis Miller says
Kathryn, love this post! So open, honest, and transparent…we can all see ourselves in your story…truly all is grace <3
Thanks, Beth! This was a post I didn’t want to write, but felt I had to. So hard to admit those moments when we fall short, but that’s also when we can truly experience grace.
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
Thank you for being real and vulnerable…there is no such thing as a perfect mom out there. A wise woman taught me something when I was a young mom: After I tucked my children in bed and they were sleeping, I would come in, sit on their bed, and pray over them. I would ask God to fill in the gaps where I had come up short that day. I commited my lack of ability to His sure ability to be “enough” for them. In this way I felt a partnership with God in raising my kids and it was comforting to know that He, in His love, would fill in the cracks where I felt I had failed. My children are grown and though I can’t sit on the edge of their beds, I still pray that prayer. Blessings to you wonderful mother…