My kids are asleep in their beds, which is good news for them because I am not fit to be with others right now. The last two hours were not ones I am proud of and as I hang my head in my hands, all I can think of is, “His mercies are new every morning.” Thank God for that. So thankful that when He designed the world, He came up with the whole sun setting, us sleeping and the dawn bringing a new day thing. Full of mercy, full of possibilities and a chance to start over. Such a good idea.
I lost my cool big time tonight with my kids. I yelled and said frustrated things that inevitably made them feel like they were a big disappointment to me. They were out of control and so I responded by being out of control. Or maybe they took their clues from me. Lately I wonder how often their anger, emotional instability, bickering and low coping skills are not just a result of our hard year, but them actually mirroring me.
The pregnancy apps tell me that I should be experiencing mood swings here in the 30+ week stage. Oh good to know. I feel insane. We moved less than a week ago and tonight I had to take the kids to a laundromat because we are waiting on a part for our washing machine and I have no clothes left to cover my giant belly. My husband works Wednesday nights and is also trying to finish papers for his grad school quarter that ends this week. So, I’m on my own and already tired from doing way more than I should have.
So I try to speed fold my stuff because I hate wrinkly laundry. But I have a constipated kid who starts screaming and running around the laundromat because he has to go but refuses to do so. A woman watches us in horror, probably assuming I’m a terrible mother. Whatever.
We get home, I lug the laundry upstairs and have to make our bed because I washed our comforter cover. Yes, we used it as furniture padding in the moving truck, didn’t wash it and have been sleeping with it the past 4 nights. The kids are in the bath fighting and screaming at each other. I yell really loud to make them stop (brilliant, I know) and finally go in there to find that they poured all that was left of our kid shampoo into the water. No one cooperates as I angrily try and wash them with what I can drizzle out- all the while struggling to bend over my aching body that just needs to be lying on the couch growing a baby.
I don’t even know who was screaming or crying about what from that point on, but we skipped books and teeth brushing and the whole thing sucked. They are 6 and 4 years old for crying out loud, one of us needed to be the adult and it should have been the almost 42 year old mother.
I have a lot of legitimate excuses for my behavior, and I suppose the kids do too. We have had a tiring year and we have not hid that very well from our kids. Pros and cons with that choice for sure. I have spent most of the past year horribly sick with pregnancies and anxious about losing another baby. Our home hasn’t felt like home and it’s become clear how essential that is for us. I am now 9 months pregnant and we moved less than a week ago. Such a good thing, yet our departure from our difficult landlord has not been peaceful and the new house isn’t real functional yet. Our stuff doesn’t fit and the amount of work it is to settle in is overwhelming. I just want a Christmas tree and a fireplace that is not leaking gas. We’ll get there.
Excuses or not, we all lose our cool. I cut myself some slack, especially right now, but it never feels good to behave poorly and know that others had to get my ugly spilled on them. It’s true what that old object lesson illustrates- when you get shaken, whatever is in your cup will spill out onto those around you. My cup is apparently full of some yuck.
So when I turned out the lights in each of their rooms tonight, a heart to heart was in order. I said I was sorry for yelling at them and letting my anger get the best of me. I apologized for some of the specific things I said, reminded them of how precious they are to me and let them share what felt hard to them about moving. We talked about God’s amazing forgiveness, prayed a little and then had some good snuggles. They’re resilient, I’m human, God is forgiving.
But let me say this- we must reconcile. We must clean up the ugly that spills out of us onto others. We must talk through what went wrong, own our mistakes and ask for forgiveness. I am amazed at how many married couples, friends, parents and kids skip the reconciliation step. It is difficult, humbling and VITAL to a healthy life. Failing to face each other will most definitely erode your relationships. Slowly and silently, but most definitely. Jesus teaches repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation. And He knows what He’s talking about.
We’ll try again tomorrow, trusting that even though we might screw it up again at some point, reconciliation will bring healing and that His love can change our hearts and fill our cups with his goodness. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23