I had a day the other day. A day where nothing seemed to go right and it felt like every circumstance in my life was working together against me. It felt like there was some kind of bet going on about how long it would take for me to blow my top.
It was a Sunday. Bryan was working so that meant I was getting 3 kids fed, washed, dressed and off to church alone. It also meant getting 3 kids out of the van, carried across the parking lot and off to their separate Sunday school classes alone. Then it meant collecting 3 kids from 3 different rooms alone. Then it meant loading 3 kids into 3 carseats alone. Then getting them all home amid tears from late naps and late lunch. Then of course, preparing lunch, feeding lunch, breastfeeding one and then getting every one down for naps. Am I being dramatic? I'm sorry. Just trying to relate to you that it's not the easiest task.
Well, on this particular day, I was exhausted. I was so ready for my "me" time.
About an hour into nap time (just enough time for me to get the lunch dishes cleared and get ready to sit down on the couch...) I heard my 2 year old yelling, "Mommy! I POO POO!"
Well she did. All over her bed she did. The 2 year old. The one I'm pretty sure is possibly lactose intolerant because of the incessant diarrhea. (oh sorry, was that too much information?)
So now I'm upset. This 2 year old is potty trained. So why, oh why didn't she call me in here BEFORE she poo'ed?
Now I'm trying to figure out how to clean this mess. The sheets were a loss. I chucked them in the trash bin and didn't look back. The child? I popped her in the shower. It was the next best thing to taking the garden hose to her which didn't seem rational. The 2 year old is crying because she knows she's made me upset even if I'm trying to hide it. The 2 year old's crying wakes up the 10 month old. He starts crying. So now I'm bouncing a 10 month old on my hip as I'm showering a 2 year old covered in poo. I'm also trying to make sure there's no poo on my hands and consequently none now on the 10 month old. As this is happening I hear the puppy making noise in the kitchen. I turn a deaf ear and hope it's nothing too messy. Sweat is forming on my brow and I feel my temperature rising. At this point, my 3 1/2 year old (also was supposed to be napping) bursts into the room. "MOMMY! THE PUPPY IS GETTING INTO THE CEREAL!" I couldn't handle it. It was like those cartoons where someone piles all those books into someone's arms and just keeps piling and piling and then finally the one tiny book placed on top just tips the whole darn thing and it all goes falling everywhere. I whirled around and (not my finest moment) yelled, "NOT RIGHT NOW PEYTON!!!" The poor doll fled the room in a flurry of tears.
Immediately I knew I had to stop. I had let myself go right out of control along with the circumstances. I had lost my cool.
I knew I had to go love my sweet girl. I took a couple deep breaths. I dried off the 2 year old, kissed her head and put a clean pair of underwear on her. I tucked her in to her sister's bed and gave her a couple of books to read. I shushed the 10 month old and placed him in his pack n play with some toys. I put the puppy in the laundry room. I wiped my brow, and I headed with a humble heart to my bedroom where my 3 1/2 year old had sought refuge from her hurricane mother.
I took the walk down the hall to her room. As I approached her door, I could hear her quietly saying under her breath "I'm going to go out there and I'm going to say I'm sorry to her. I'm just gonna say it!" I hung my head. The darling girl was rehearsing her apology TO ME. After I had yelled at her. When she opened the door with a brave little face, I knelt down to her level. She looked me square in the eyes and said (complete with hand gestures), "Momma, sometimes, sometimes we are very rude. And when we are rude, that just makes me grumpy. So I'm very sorry Mommy, but I don't like rude."
I wrapped her in my arms and I wept. I held her close and said "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry" more times than I could count. I asked her to forgive me and she said yes.
I'm so thankful for my girl. I'm so thankful that she reminds me not to be "rude". I need her in my life. I need her to remind me of my rudeness, my anger, my sin. I need to her to show me that I need to change.
Some people may have thought it was cheeky of her to give me that little speech. But I couldn't be more thankful that she did. I need to be rebuked, and if God wants to use my beautiful blond haired blue eyed daughter as the mouthpiece, then I will take it with a humble heart.
God gave me Peyton because He knew I'd have days like that. He knew that my full house and my 3 kids can get overwhelming. He knew the pressure cooker inside of me would have days that it would burst open. And so He gave me Peyton. He gave me Peyton to call me out. To remind me where the line is and to tell me when I crossed it. Yes, I'm the parent. And yes, I do the parenting in this home. BUT may I never be so proud that I cannot take rebuke or guidance from a 3 year old. Because she was so right.
We mom's struggle with anger. In a mom's group I'm a part of, 10 women went around a circle and said their biggest struggle as a mom. 8 of those 10 said it was anger. As mom's, our plates get full. And fuller. We get that stack of books piled so high, it's only a matter of seconds before it all tumbles. And our kids? They get the brunt of the fall. We're stressed. We're up half the night nursing so and so and wiping so and so's bottom. We're up changing bed linens or rocking a crying baby. We're not well rested and often we haven't had enough time with Jesus either. We get angry. The stress builds and builds and we explode.
BUT our God, in his GREAT mercy provides a way of escape. For me, it was my little girl reminding me that rudeness makes her grumpy. It was stopping and realizing that it really wasn't the end of the world because of a mess of poo or a fussing baby. It was stopping and acknowledging that the stress of the moment--no matter how great--didn't warrant saying things to my dearest ones that would scar them forever. I had to stop. I had to be reminded. I had to be humbled. I had to be loved. And in the arms of my tiny little gorgeous 3 year old, I felt the forgiving, merciful arms of the Father.