I think we all have our struggles as moms. Specifically, how well we deal with our children when things aren't so pretty. I know moms who resort to crying when they are frustrated or overwhelmed. Some go into their bedrooms until they (and their child) cool down. I have so much admiration for these moms who do either compassionate or wise things when they know things are about to boil over. As of right now, I'm so not one of those moms. I guess you could say my dirty little secret as a mom is that when Burke is screaming, the girls are fighting, or our house is, in a word, a freaking crazy zoo, I yell. And yell. And yes, more often than not bad words come flying out of my mouth. Not just your normal yelling. It's like a demon is being released from my body in the form of my voice. Bad, bad, bad. In these awesome, mom-of-the-year moments, Campbell usually goes dead silent and Sophie looks at me as though I've just told her she has to go live with another family and then subsequently bursts into tears. Burke just keeps screaming, unaffected (I hope). Much like I would imagine an addict feels immediately after their "fix", I have instant, awful regret for my actions. I feel like that horrible mom you see screaming at her kids at Walmart who you silently judge and wonder why God ever allowed her to have offspring. And worst of all, I've let chaos get the best of me. No rising above, no tears of frustration, just plain angry awfulness.
I get it that no one expects me to be a perfect mom. And thankfully, these "attacks" really are few and far between (yes, the girls fight and Burke screams, but it is a rare occurrence it all happens at once). But why is it that in these moments, I'm also making a mental list of all the moms I know who would never lose their cool the way I am in this exact moment? I would hope that even if Mother Theresa had been a mom, she wouldn't have been perfect. I mean, she'd probably be too busy saving all of the other children in the world to fully pay attention to her own, and they would most likely feel a little neglected. Right....right? I mean I'm sure she has so much inner peace and patience that she wouldn't erupt like a volcano like good ole super mom here, but she would have to have some imperfection. I sure hope she would.
In a moms' bible study I'm currently in, we were recently talking about "undiscipline." Specifically, us as individuals (not our children). Women can have all different kinds of strengths, and one that I have always been proud of is my fairly strong amount of self discipline. For example, in 8th grade, I did 100 crunches, 50 push ups, and 50 stair jumps every night, without fail (at the time, I was determined to make the USA Olympic volleyball team), and I made a 4.0 my freshman year of college while playing a sport. Who does that? Someone who is their own drill sergeant, that's who. However, more often than not, in times when my discipline was lacking, it usually turns into some nasty form of beating myself up. The more I have thought about why I feel the need to be so disciplined, I realized that what I really crave is control. Control over my success, my body, my actions, and now, my children. Obviously in these glorious moments where I reach the point of realizing control is gone, I explode. So the cycle basically goes:
Realization control/peacefulness is gone --> Explosion --> Mom Guilt --> Repeat
If having three children in two years has taught me anything, it's that I can basically kiss control goodbye. For miss disciplined Type A here, that hurts. So it seems the only logical solution to this dilemma is to replace "Explosion" with "(better form of coping)." Lately, I have really been working hard on this. I came across this wonderful blog post HERE on pinterest. While reading through it, I had multiple "a-ha" moments, and felt the need to share it with any moms who read this.
One thing I'm going to work on this week is finding a "mantra" or something you repeat in chaotic situations. Not sure yet what it will be. Scripture? Deep breathing? Don't act like a maniac, Stephanie? One quote I came across awhile ago that has stuck with me is "A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor." That one should probably be framed somewhere in my house. I'd like to think that these crazy moments as a mom, much like my 8th grade workout, are really just God's way of refining me and turning me into the best possible version of myself.
Full of patience and inner peace.