Ever feel like your children were placed on this planet to test you? That’s exactly how I feel at times. They seem to know the buttons to push that get you angry. You know, just the right words to make you go off on a tangent about “good” behavior. Or the immediate thought to snatch them up to let them know who’s really in charge. Or even the idea to help them pack up their belongings and move out because they obviously think they’re grown! Yes, those tests that push you beyond that imaginary limit that you set and thought you’d never reach.
Well, this past weekend my youngest asked to have a friend over. I wasn’t really up for it because it was a long week at work and I just wanted a quiet weekend. She had been asking for weeks, so I finally just said yes. I don’t like being nagged, but that’s exactly what she did. This one request grew into many more. It went from a friend staying the night to wanting to go to the store for candy. The next request was going out for ice cream. That was later followed up by wanting to go with the friend skating when she left our house. All the questions and wanting more and more annoyed the crap out of me. Before it was all over, it was asking what’s for dinner (which is a daily question I’m asked) and not wanting what I had prepared. That sent me over the edge and I had to put myself in timeout!
Sometimes I fail the tests of motherhood. Why would I say that? Because I allow myself to get aggravated and stressed out by the behaviors of my children. I don’t execute patience well. It’s something I’m constantly working to improve. There are times when I do it well though if I say so myself. For instance, a few weeks ago I was telling my son to clean his bedroom. This meant he had to take a break from his video game and he wasn’t feeling that at all. In his frustration, he headed down the stairs to empty his trash and stepped on the cord from his video game headset and broke it. You would have thought the world was coming to an end. He’s eleven years old but had a temper tantrum like that of a two year old. I’m talking about rolling around on the floor kicking and screaming. His behavior was making me angry, but instead of “going off” and making the situation worse, I talked to him and let him know his behavior was not helping in any way. I felt bad he had broken them (they were a Christmas present), but had he not taken out the trash with an attitude and simply taken off the headset, he’d still have it.
When I think back on my desire to be a mom, I never thought I would have behavior issues with my children. I don’t know why. Must have been that fairytale I lived in before being jerked back to reality! In my mind they would listen when I tell them to do something the first time. Boy did I get a rude awakening. I’m most certainly not living in that fairytale now!
We are all learning and sometimes you have to fail a few tests before finally passing it. I’m still fumbling through motherhood (watching the Super Bowl and thought that’d be funny to say). I’ve passed a few and failed a few, but I haven’t given up. As my children continue to grow, I’m sure there will be other things they do to anger me, and I pray I’ll get better on dealing with those situations because motherhood isn’t going to stop. And it’s not something I can quit.
Ultimately, I have the power to shape their behavior by simply choosing to show patience and give grace. The tests of motherhood have the tendency to stress moms, but I look back at the little people they were and I look forward to the big people they will become. During this time in between I just have to survive!