I have, and it’s not a pretty sight.
Tickling, tackling, and body diving off of the couch just about did me in yesterday. Finally, I lost it. The Mommy Monster emerged.
“Everybody to your rooms! NOW!”
While power-parenting might have produced fear and trembling in toddlers, for one of my teenage sons, it stirred up indignation. He stood toe-to-toe with me with cold eyes.
“NOW!!! Did you HEAR me? NOW!!!!!!!!!“
Okay, so by this point, I can tell my eyes are about to roll around in my head. I know I can’t make him go to his room. But I really, really need for him to go to his room.
I gained a little composure, took a deep breath, got closer, and whispered, “Go to your room right now, for your sake and mine.”
For whatever reason, this clicked with my offended teenage son and he turned around and went to his room.
One of my very perceptive daughters who was not involved in the gymnastics came into the kitchen and asked me a simple question. “When’s dinner?”
As you can imagine, this question didn”t go over very well with me, and the Mommy Monster attacked her as well.
“Mom, I’m not going to talk to you right now. You’re taking out your frustration with them on me.” She turned around and walked away. Ouch!
The kids stayed in their rooms until dinner. Good for them. Good for me. When I called the troops, they came to the table, quiet, a bit wary. Before we even prayed, I confessed.
“I forgive you, Mom, but I understand why you acted that way.”
“Yeah, I shouldn’t have tackled my brother.”
“And I shouldn’t have yelled at you.”
“Will you forgive me?”
I need a time-out. I know that power-parenting doesn’t work, but without space I’m going to keep going down that road. Yesterday I got space by sending the kids to their rooms. Sometimes, I need to go to my room, go for a walk, or lock myself in the bathroom. Get space.
I’m not talking pretty prayers here. I’m talking gut-level honest prayers. For me, it sounds something like this.
“God, I am so frustrated right now. The kids are driving me crazy. They need to get outside, but they don’t want to go outside. And God, while we’re at it, I’m still a little bit irritated that you sent that crazy storm this summer that slammed our trampoline into a tree. If they could just jump on the trampoline, they wouldn’t be jumping off the couch. And, there’s more. I’m feeling pressure. Not just from the kids, but from life.“
And then I get quiet. And I hear God speak to me. Not out loud, but to my heart.
“Cindy, be still and know that I’m God. Rest in me. Trust me. Give grace to the kids and to yourself. My burden is light. Let me carry the pressure you’re feeling. Be a mom, and let the other stuff go for now. ”
Without making excuses, confess. Sure the kids should have listened to me the first time I told them to stop acting tickling, tackling, and body diving off the couch. Sure they should have gone outside and found trees to climb.
But, when I say all of that, I’m blaming them for my Mommy Meltdown rather than owning my stuff.
When I confess what I did and don’t make excuses, I open the way for them to own their behavior and confess too. I open the way for grace.