I hate it when I yell at my kids. I know that I'm not the only mother that does it, but I hate it. And, I don't mean that I completely lose control and turn into the incredible hulk mom, but, sometimes, it does all get to me. I definitely don't like admitting on a blog that I'm not perfect, haha, but, for the sake of my point, I'm going to.
I look back on my childhood and I can't remember a time when my mom yelled at me. But, surely, she must have. I got even grumpier then when I was hungry than I do now. So, she must've wanted to wring my neck more than a few times, but I don't remember it. I remember the love. I remember the singing and the dancing and how all of my friends wanted to come to my house because they loved my parents. That is how I hope and pray that my kids will remember their childhood.
And, I do sing and dance. And, they sing and dance with me. And, I will welcome my kids' friends to the house and not just because it gives me a good excuse to make them clean up their stuff. ;)
But, what if it's not enough? What if they remember that I was a moment away from a snap because I didn't eat soon enough? Or that I occasionally cry out of frustration because they won't pick up their toys?
I can explain/defend it. Adding another child to the mix makes everything harder. I am so very glad that he is part of the mix, for the record. But, it has been an adjustment. And, I decided long ago that I would rather my children love me than fear me. So, if I sometimes give too many chances, the trade-off of not remembering me as the angry mom might be worth it. But, sometimes a little fear might be nice...;) But, if I finally snap at them after calmly giving them several chances then what's the point, anyway? What if "No one listens to me until I start yelling!" is the catchphrase that they remember?
Each day, I look at their smiling faces and I have to believe that all the smiling, laughing, and hugging that I also do, off-set my frustration moments. They are happy. They are silly. I've got to be doing ok, right?
That was my story until the other night. I had just snapped at the younger three because they were all asking me questions instead of quietly playing in their rooms until lights out. I used to be able to deal with this better, but now I have trouble separating the voices and answering their questions. So, I yelled at them to go to their rooms. And, then I came out to the living room, fuming a bit.
Kaleb looked at me and said "I was going to tell you this earlier, but I'll tell you now.... Just remember that when you're mad at us and being a grumpy pants, we all love you."
He said it with a smile and calling me a grumpy pants was evidence that he did, in fact, love me and I wasn't traumatizing him. But, it hit me in a different way. I sat there, thinking about it. They do love me. And, they don't have to; especially William and Kaleb who had to get to know me and then decide to love me. I have been given this gift and, shame on me, for getting mad that William, Antwan, and Lizzie wanted to talk to me.
I was definitely not a grumpy pants the rest of the night. I went to bed thinking about it. I woke up on Thanksgiving morning and thought about it. And, I thought about it, as I quietly made pies and hoped they wouldn't wake up until I was done. And, when William came out to go to the bathroom and impulsively and loudly called my name from the hallway (potentially waking everyone up); I resisted the urge to lose my cool and invited him out to help me make the pies instead. (That was definitely the best decision that I made that day.)
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I spent the day marveling at our good fortune.
That afternoon, when we came home, Kaleb got right to practicing on the violin that my sister loaned him. Brian and I were standing in the driveway exchanging sentiments about how lucky we are when Kaleb came out to play us a song that he had just learned. He played and it was beautiful. I praised him and tried to casually walk into the house. But, I only made it as far as the kitchen when I started to cry. Brian hugged me as William rushed in to hug me, too. Undoubtedly, he was wondering what Mommy was worked up about now. I was quick to tell him that they were happy tears and that I just felt very, very thankful. I then attacked all of them with overly dramatic hugs and sat down to enjoy the rest of the night.
I don't want to be a grumpy pants, anymore. And, I know that I will sometimes. But, when I do, I'm going to try to remember my teenager's wise words and throw my grumpy pants out of the window. Instead, I'm going to put on my happy pants and dancing shoes. :)
(And, because I was feeling very inspired, this morning, I started a new blog to keep me on track! http://changecanbegold.blogspot.com/ Please, check it out!)