Some lessons in our house are meant more for mommy to learn than the child. Today was, unfortunately, one of those “mommy lesson learned” days.
It all started asking Dylan to get Ethan a pair of socks out. It started when I left the boys upstairs to go check today’s weather. The running footsteps, the loud laughter, the sound of little boys crashing through the ceiling really gets me going. After only 5 minutes of this rambunctious behavior upstairs (and two warnings), I was more than irritated. Asking Dylan to get a pair of socks for Ethan was just the last straw. Having a 3-year old find white socks shouldn’t be a difficult task. After nicely showing him what the color white looks like at least a half dozen times, the irritation in my voice increased as my volume did. At this point, I not only further decreased the chance that he would listen to directions, but I put him into meltdown mode.
Long story short, as I went to help him, he resisted me and we ended up bonking his head on the dresser. This story ends with a bruised forehead and a scraped chin. But most importantly, bruised hearts… both his and mine.
Bruises surface where an injury has occurred. They are colorful reminders of a painful moment. Most of the time, the damage is temporary and these tender spots will fade and heal with time. However, we can’t see the damage done inside. The real hurt that was inflicted.
Dylan finally found a pair of white socks to which I praised him endlessly. But the socks weren’t the issue anymore.
Rather than showing him colors, I showed him that yelling is okay when you’re upset. Instead of showing him graciousness, I showed him impatience. Rather than guiding his little fingers to the right color, his little fingers were wiping away tears.
And to think, all this over socks.
Sadly, the problem was not the 3-year old. The problem was me. Oh how this morning would have turned out differently if I had kept calm and talked him through this teachable moment. And what was the rush anyways? Just getting to the grocery store sooner?
When all had settled, my sweet boy let me hold him. As I sat there crying, kissing his forehead and apologizing, he just curled into me… sad and broken. He trusts me to teach him, he trusts me to guide him, he trusts me to take care of him. And in this moment, I’ve failed him.
After Dylan went to play, I continued to sit on the floor and I curled into the arms of Christ… sad and broken, begging for forgiveness, asking for strength and help. God has entrusted this precious child to me, yet today was definitely not a display of God’s love.
Friends, I am not relating this story to you with a head held high. Even now, the mommy guilt is stabbing at my heart. But rather to remind you that we have one job to do as mothers… to love our children. Our hurried agendas mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. So slow down for these teachable moments with your kids. Calm your heart. Speak to them with kindness. And think of the impact you are making in their lives.