Thinking Before Hollering

July 21, 2012

I think it is official. I'm losing my mind.

I can be a perfectly content Mommy one minute and a stomping around, angry, frustrated mommy the next. The other night my children were literally running around the house in some delightful game of chase – teenagers chasing younger ones. They were laughing, screaming, and flying by me while I worked on getting dinner on the table. As they raced past me, I scooted quickly toward my newly organized garage. Alas, my beautiful, clean garage was no longer...someone in their haste to find something had left everything everywhere...I'm exaggerating a bit, but at that moment it felt like everything had been poured on the floor. I was instantly – and I mean, instantly – furious. I stomped back into the house and started fussing at everyone about the garage. Oh but I didn't stop there. It was as if my eyes were opened to everything that was wrong with the house...everything they had dropped on the floor and stepped over, every spill and sticky spot that hadn't been adequately dealt with, every wrong thing they had done in the last minute, day, week, month, or year...I was not a pretty sight.

All my laughing, joking, hollering, happy children stopped in their tracks and looked at me. My oldest said, "Gosh Mom we were just having fun together." I felt like one of those cartoon characters that shrinks down to the size of a small bug. And I wanted to say, "Just squash me, please." I stood facing my sweet children feeling like I was an absolute ogre. Granted the garage was a mess, the counters and floors were sticky, my littlest daughter had run with a taco in her hands so there were taco tracks throughout the house, but really... I mean really...did I have to get so angry? What happened to the Mommy I was striving to be...calm, peaceful, self-control, slow to become angry, fun, kind, and loving. Yeah...I think I left that mommy in the garage.

I couldn't even figure out how to apologize adequately. I had ruined the fun. The bummer was very rarely do all 5 of my children have the opportunity to enjoy each other's company. Usually someone is busy and gone, or someone else is grumpy and too fussy to play nicely. Ugh. I was so disappointed. Once I'd stopped the fun it is very difficult to restart the joy.

We did have a nice dinner together, but I spent the whole evening trying to recapture the delight I had seen in my children's eyes as they played together. I had messed it up all because I let things make me angry. The issues were real and valid, but my mode of addressing them was poor and ineffective.

If I had a do-over I would wait until we all sat down at the dinner table. After we had prayed and had started eating I would have shared that I needed a little more help around the house. That I wanted them to work harder to pick up after themselves, to do their jobs well, and to respect me, each other, and our home by taking care of all the many things that we were blessed to own. I would have asked for suggestions on how to do that more efficiently and effectively - maybe even developed a plan for dealing with badly done chores or things left undone. I think it might have been a good conversation.

Alas, my outburst preempted my ability to address things well...I had to play back up and fix Mommy's flub before I could move forward and fix the real problem.

I've just got to pray that I can keep my opinion to myself until I consider the best way to deal with things. I'm going to encourage my children to play hard and well with one another. I'm going to try and not let things get in the way of the people in my life. My children are wonderful...and messy...and I love them so much. I love them enough to take the time to consider well what I say to them or holler at them!

And maybe I should just avoid the garage all together and maybe I'll be able to put off the looney bin for a bit longer!

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