While lunching with a friend the other day, a small skirmish broke out over one of the grubby sand toys in Joe’s Sand Lot. I got up from the table and quietly dispensed my standard ‘play nice or don’t play’ rule and Wolfie and Mattie went off to play nice again.
Impressed, my friend said, “You handled that well. I would have lost it.”
“It’s early.” I replied and we both had a good laugh.
When I am rested, refreshed and on task it’s so easy to be Wolfie and Mattie’s Mama. The best part of being home every day continues to be our morning snuggle. Imagine, me! I am the first place they go when they open their little eyes. They climb on my lap to cuddle and rest their heads on my shoulder while they finish waking up.
In my finest moments, I have the pride of purpose, following my strongest desire to be fully present in each moment with my children, comforting them, loving them, supporting them, to be that one place they can count on as a soft place to land. It is then that I swoon with love for them and feel blessed to be answering this higher calling.
But then there are those other ugly moments when I can’t seem to see past amassing pile of dishes, the hampers puking dirty clothes out their lids, when I seem to spend my whole day stuck on the cook-feed-clean-repeat cycle. In those moments I can’t bear to hear another ‘Mama’ out of either one of them and I respond sharply “WHAT?” which sometimes is enough send Mattie to tears. Those days I question my very ability to mother, keep a decent house, walk and chew gum at the same time. I’m still trying to find a way to quickly snap myself out of those moments. Sometimes, a self-imposed Mama-time-out is all I need to come back with a fresh perspective. Some days it takes repeating.
I read a news bulletin about a study reporting that verbal abuse hurts kids psychologically almost as much as physical and the damage lasts into adulthood – is this really a surprise to anyone? I do understand how child abuse happens and I know its seed is in me. I’ve felt it pushing against its skin threatening to germinate and pop into my language. I’m not surprised that I can control this darkness, but more mortified that I even need to. Now don’t go fearing for my children or calling DCFS on me – it’s not like that AT ALL. I’m only writing here about understanding the inner-workings of a parent gone wrong, understanding the speed at which parental boiling points are reached. It takes so much more effort to discipline your child into wanting to do what pleases you, than to simply force or scare them into it.
‘Because I said so, that’s why.’