I have been a terrible mother lately. I mean, terrible with a capital T that rhymes with Z that stands for "out of Zoloft"! My boys have been a bit high maintenance lately. My 21 month old has discovered the art of fit throwing, to the extent that I almost threw him in the car and drove him to urgent care yesterday with the thought that I wouldn't leave until the doctors there could give me some rational reason as to why my "little blessing" was acting like a demon child! Instead, I stuck a bottle in his mouth and he was perfectly happy after downing 10 ounces of milk. He went on to have some yogurt, lasagna, bread and a brownie then ended the evening throwing himself off of an empty diaper box onto my lap.
The sad truth of the matter is that my behavior during the fit throwing hasn't been much better. Yesterday morning found me locked in the bathroom showering and praying with a mix of guilt and self-loathing for yelling at my little tykes and relief that I had about fifteen minutes of peace. When God cut the cloth for maternal nature, I was obviously nowhere in site. The thought did occur to me during this first episode of the day that if churches are serious about growing then this is the ad they should place in the paper: "2 Hours FREE Quality Childcare: Worship and Sunday School Attendance Required". Worship attendance would explode, although, so would the heads of your nursery workers!
I wish I could say that it got better after that, but it didn't. I've already detailed the hour long fit episode. I yelled at my boys several times, culminating at four in the morning when the little one was screaming again after being up every couple of hours because of a stuffy nose. My response was to yell back and then bite his Daddy's head off so I could play the martyr. Not pretty, but Stephen did stop crying. and we slept in the recliner for a few more hours.
Needless to say, I hated myself this morning. The feelings around motherhood can be a vicious cycle. The second I lose my patience with my boys I feel guilty and think I'm taking them for granted. Then I think about how precious and short life is which leads me deeper down the spiral of guilt and I think, if something happened to one of them, I would never forgive myself. Then the self-loathing takes over, and I remind myself of what a terrible mother I am and think of all of the wonderful, nurturing moms out there who are so much better than me. I was remembering watching the movie The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood several years ago before I had children. There's a scene where the mom loses it after a terrible night dealing with kid stomach flu and leaves for three days. She drives to the beach, rents a motel room, and sleeps. I remember turning to my friend and saying, "Oh my gosh! That's going to be me!" Fortunately, I haven't run away yet. But the thought has been there, which doesn't say much for my character.
Yet as I was praying and processing through all of these emotions this morning, God let me know that this cycle just has to stop. Because, if I keep hating myself, no one else is going to care much for me either. And God has a lot he wants me to do. The truth of the matter is, God entrusted these two boys to both my husband and I and it's our job to do our best to mirror God's love to them. But, they also need to understand that everyone makes mistakes. And while I don't like losing my temper with them, it provides me with an opportunity to show them how to apologize, and it offers them the opportunity to show grace. Sometimes, you can't get to the grace without the crazy. :-)
Blessings and Peace,