When I look back on almost two decades of parenting there is one particular area I have always struggled. Although by God’s grace (literally) I have gotten a little better in this area, I wish the learning curve would have been shorter (as do my children, I’m sure).
Leaving the house with kids has always been a challenge for me. Even before having kids I have never been able to get places on time. Add three children in four and half years to the mix, none of whom seem to understand that the word “hurry” means move faster than you are currently moving, and things turn pretty ugly, pretty quickly (things meaning, of course, me).
When I am asked to speak at moms groups, I try remind young mothers that our goal isn’t to parent perfectly. Our goal should be to get a little better every day.
What are some things that I have learned over the years that have helped me get kids out the door without turning into Momzilla?
Trying to get out of the house is not the time to 1) explain in detail how being late will be unacceptable at a job someday, 2) impart consequences for the moldy sandwich from their backpack or 3) provide six reasons why wearing shorts in January is a bad idea. I am completely insane when we are trying to leave the house. Insane people shouldn’t impart wisdom.
START a List.
I have a pen and paper on the counter and on it goes the above offenses that I will later (when I’m again sane) address with my kids. Often times when I look at the list later in the day, the offenses seem inconsequential.
I ask God everyday to give me wisdom and discernment in parenting. In the last seventeen and a half years He has answered that prayer most frequently and most “successfully” by simply shutting my mouth. I have never regretted staying silent, but I have cried many tears wishing I could take back angry, idiotic and hurtful things I have spoken in the heat of the moment.
I’m not a big apologizer. I believe we have bordered on becoming a generation of parents who lacks confidence, appropriate authority and love, because we over apologize without doing things differently the next time. However, when I’m a jerk because I’m late, unorganized and have anger issues an apology with the commitment to do better tomorrow, is warranted and makes a difference.
During my kids’ elementary school years, I began asking if the hour I spent with them before they left for eight hours was how I wanted our short time together to look. Was a raging, lecturing lunatic the way I wanted them to think of me all day? I began to resolve to look better. Not perfect, just better. Although we’re still late sometimes, I can look back with less regret knowing I’ve gotten a little better at being nicer, gentler and more patient along the way.
What are some ways you can try to make those wild moments as you head out the door a little easier?