After a long night of nursing and rocking my newborn Eliana, I was an exhausted, irritable mess. I was flipping pancakes, while bouncing a crying Eliana who was strapped onto me by a baby carrier. Keeping clutter at bay seemed impossible as my 23-month-old Jeremiah threw around the dish towels I had just folded neatly in a drawer.
As I unstrapped Eliana to start breastfeeding her, Jeremiah grabbed and spilled the maple syrup, making the floor nasty and sticky. I soon found myself raising my voice at Jeremiah, anger and annoyance welling up within me.
Looking back, the above scenario seems kind of humorous. But in moments like those, I get so aggravated. I allow my temper to take over and then, after spouting off an angry remark at one of my children, I feel immediate regret.
Being a mom of an energetic toddler and a restless newborn can be overwhelming. I’ve found it especially difficult not to let emotional impulses dictate my moods and my actions when I’m frustrated or stressed. It’s been so easy to play the victim card, and to justify my anger and impatience. My logic: “I’m tired, therefore I’m allowed to be irritable.”
There’s no way around it: most of the time, being a mom–especially to young kids– drains your physical energy. But I realize that I need to discover ways to effectively deal with that tiredness and choose a positive attitude for the sake of my kids.
Parenting is more about what I do than what I say. At any given moment, my kids are observing me. They are picking up on how I react when things don’t go as planned and how I handle stress. They will always take their cue from me on how to handle disappointment in their own lives. I can lecture them all I want to be patient, but unless they see me modeling it for them, they’ll never know how to be patient.
Since that incident with the maple syrup, it’s been my deep desire to become more aware of my tendency to give in to my emotional and physical impulses. Thankfully, in parenting, there is always room for growth. Whenever I slip up, I need to remind myself that there is a learning curve to this whole parenting gig. Not to mention, my current season of life (being a mom to a toddler and a newborn) is just a transitional time that will soon pass, and I need to give myself the space to figure this all out.
There is beauty in being intentional, and trying our hardest not to make the same mistake twice. Maybe the next time I see my patience slipping away, I can recite a Bible verse, or another motivational quote that inspires me, and avoid doing and saying something I will regret.
There is a saying I heard once that goes something like this, “God gives us children not so we can raise them, but so that He can raise us.” In only two short years of motherhood, I’ve already found this to be true.