I have always been jealous of those moms. You know the moms I’m referring to. The ones that when their child throws flour all over the kitchen or spills a drink three times at one meal; she smiles lovingly, smooths a loose strand of hair behind her ear and laughs calmly at her “sweet, precious little angel” – not thinking twice about how long the mess will take her to clean up or how she will now have to make a second trip to the store for milk and flour. Or the father in the grocery store who can chuckle to the cashier about “kids being kids” and calmly ignore his rambunctious children as they climb the aisles like monkeys and throw candy at unknowing shoppers that they snuck out of the bulk candy bins. Basically, I envy the parents who have that overwhelming sense of calm and patience. They seem so sure and steady no matter what their children do or don’t do. They laugh at the “crazy” and seem to relish every moment of the little years.
I was reminded today just how much I am NOT one of those parents…oh, how I wish I could be. I have tried to “train” myself to be more like that. But there are days where I feel like my girls are training me more than I am training them. There have been quite a few situations this summer where I have ignored the crazy so that there would be more peace in our home. I have looked the other way when there was a massive mess they left for me to clean or I actually made the right decision to walk out of the room when I felt myself getting frustrated beyond belief at my girls disobedience. But today? Nope. I didn’t make the right decision.
I could tell today was going to be one of those days from the moment I opened my eyes. For one, I felt terrible and had a bad headache. I could hardly get out of bed. Then came the stomping and screaming that is unique to sibling rivalry. It has been a familiar sound this summer. I feel my nerves weaken and my muscles tense up at the first sound of a whine or ear piercing scream about how the other did this or that and so the other one scratched that one’s arm and it’s bleeding. Anyway, this is how my day started. And I could feel myself wanting to completely shut down. I made my coffee, while trying to ignore the yelling. Then I ate my cereal while the crying and fighting continued in the background of my life. I checked out. I couldn’t deal with it today! But I couldn’t check out fully because of course, I am the referee to their matches.
All I wanted was to take a shower but I had a creeping suspicion that if my girls were left with no adult supervision for more than five minutes, I might come out of the bathroom to find that I was down to one daughter. But I had to take a shower. I turned up my Bon Iver Pandora station, closed my bedroom door and took a shower. Not five minutes later, my oldest (almost 8) came flying through the door, screaming at the top of her lungs that her sister (5) flushed something special of hers down the toilet. Little C stood there without a care and stated simply, “What? She didn’t need it.” I opened the shower door and slowly but surely lost my mind. I yelled about how they were old enough to know not to flush things down the toilet. I yelled that they aggravate each other constantly. Then, as my irrational self kept taking more steps backwards, I started yelling about everything. I was still yelling and mumbling as I got out of the shower, dried off and got dressed. They had left my bedroom a long time before this and probably didn’t hear one word after my first sentence which was, “SERIOUSLY?!!! I can’t even take a shower??!?!?!”
I don’t have a “happy-go-lucky, everything is awesome now” ending for this post today other than the fact that after several more hours of crazy, my soft-hearted little girls came to me hand in hand, hugged me and said they were sorry for the fighting. (Big sigh.) Big C said they made a pact with each other to be better sisters and they were going to start by reading a scripture every day to help them not fight. (Sigh and “awww!”) It sounds amazing and I don’t want to sound pessimistic but I have heard things from them like this before, then morning comes and they have forgotten all about their apology and the fighting continues. But I want to believe them…probably just as much as they want to believe me when I tell them that I will never yell again and I won’t get upset at the crazy anymore. We all want to do better. Sometimes it’s just really hard when reality hits us upside the head and emotions get the better of us. Maybe we are no different than children. It is just displayed differently.
If you are not one of those parents, believe me. You are not alone. I have learned a lot from my friends who are those parents. It’s a beautiful thing. We are all so different and we all make mistakes. We are only human after all. And these little humans that we are responsible for can push our buttons like no one else can. But they also pull at my heart-strings – often. Being a parent is teaching me how to be a calmer, more patient person…not just with my girls but with everyone in my life and that is worth much more than the cost of toilet repair. 🙂