I cannot cultivate in my children that which I do not display myself. Period. This past week I had a particularly rough day in which my bad attitude began profusely bleeding into my parenting. My four-year-old got the brunt of it. When I came crying to him to ask for forgiveness he was so sweet and gracious.
Cademon has a tendency to walk slower when I ask him to hurry. It seems these days, I'm always in a hurry. Mostly because I haven't figured out how I need to aim leaving the house a half hour before we actually have to leave. It's not his fault I haven't gotten this two-kid routine down. After about five times of asking him to hurry that day, and getting the opposite response I wanted to, I was frustrated. I had so much to carry in from the car that I left Juniper in there, filled my hands, and walked to the back door with Cade. The idea that I walked out of eyesight of the car for a brief moment freaked me out a little bit, and I harshly pulled Cade inside so I could hurry back to get Juniper. (Where we park our car is about 50 feet from our door). At that point in time he had already been driving me a little crazy with the 4,000 questions and his bad attitude when I picked him up from preschool and his frustration at Juniper crying and his ardent focus on why he can't bring his favorite toy to school ...
There are moments I wonder how anyone with multiple little ones survives. I have a horrible habit of getting automatically frustrated if I am late anywhere. For some reason being late gets under my skin. (This may shock you if you know me because you know I'm late all the time. Which means I'm fighting or giving into a bad attitude a LOT.) Most people have a lot more grace for my lateness than I have for it.
"Yes, Mommy," Cade assured me when I asked him to forgive me. We hugged. We smiled. We had a better night. That was on Thursday. Friday morning, after less sleep than I would have liked, the morning horizon looked like another late arrival to our future destination. I felt the bad attitude swell up inside me, and then, I told it to shut up. "I'm not going to do this today," I thought to myself. I determined to have a good attitude, late or not, and Cade and I had a great day together. Instead of frustration there was laughter. Instead of a huge list of thing to do, I determined to do one thing: go for a run while Cade was at school. I realized that I need to stop thinking that what's important in life right is what I do. The reality is, it's who I am that is most important. And quite frankly, who I am to my children begins each morning with a decision about my attitude. It doesn't matter that I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. It doesn't matter if I get the laundry folded. It doesn't matter if I get the amount of sleep I want or not. It doesn't matter that it's 9 a.m. and I already have a bunch of dirty dishes to clean. Joy is not based on circumstances, and it comes every morning afresh. It's up to me to drink from its cup or not. I want to look back on these days and say that I was lovestruck, joydrunk, and ultimately felt privileged to be a mom.