Friday, January 15, 2010

I Need a Timeout

This week I've been impatient. It's been a whirlwind of activity and I'm barely keeping up. I'd like to say that it's because my young children are pressing me. No doubt they are, but that's no excuse.

Just when I think Maren is throwing fewer fits, she ratchets it up a notch. She wanted her blanket and didn't want it, changed her mind of mittens after we left and wanted to buckle her car seat by herself. She won't get in the bath and won't get out. She won't get into bed. She won't ride in a cart. All of which resulted in loud, wailing tantrums.

I seriously don't know how much more I can take. I thought maybe it would be better when she turned two, Ha! Now I keep counting how many months it will be until she's three. It's really not that I want to wish her life to go faster. I feel like time is going too fast already! I would like it if there could be less screaming and more cooperation.

There's a lot I can handle when it comes to mothering but the screaming tantrum is tough. I can feel my face flushing and my temperature rising the minute it starts. Have I done something wrong or been a bad mom?

I probably have let too many things go with her. I figured I could do better so I tried to consistently put her in a timeout on a little bench in my room when she didn't cooperate. I've read a whole bunch of thoughts on discipline. I've tried getting mad and I've tried ignoring. I've concluded that I am the one that needs a time out. Can Mom's run away? It just seems that I do not have the depth of patience or character needed for this gig.

Then today she was the sweetest little thing imaginable. We went to class and just smiled and waved when I left for coffee time. We took Annie to preschool and she cooperated. She was charming and compliant at the store. It was so fun and I was so happy until I wondered why she can't be like this all the time?

While I was driving home I was thinking that this is just how life is with little ones. There will be good days and bad days. It's not necessarily a result of my parenting. It just is. Kids get frustrated, parents get tired. We are human.

I've been reading through the Old Testament and was reminded what a stubborn and rebellious child God had on his hands with the Israelites. Continually God tells them to follow Him and they will prosper. They continually fail. But even after their terrible failures, time and time again, when they are ready to repent God is there with open arms and blessings. That's how God is with us. He is a faithful parent, even though He knows we are going to fail.

I want the idea that I will be there for my kids through thick and thin, obedience and disobedience, good times and bad times to pour out of my heart. There are going to be difficult days. They will fail and so will I.

There is something more important than the day to day challenges and victories. It's faithfulness. When it's tough and they are crying and screaming over a mitten, I need to be faithful. When it's fun and they are laughing and fun at the store, I am called to be faithful.

Will I choose to be faithful to the job and calling that God has given me with my kids?


Peter and Nancy said...

Seems like there's always one child or one season that's trying at any given time . . . you have a great perspective on it. I heard someone talk about being a "good enough" mom, instead of going crazy trying to be a perfect mom. Not that I'm suggesting compromising about the most important things, but just acknowledging that we're a work in progress . . . and that our Parent still loves us when we mess up. I'm cheering you on!

Jenilee said...

great post... there are those days aren't there? tough days that just seem so full of frustrating moments and counting the months! :) but, God is faithful to us and I know He has called us to be faithful to our children. Love how you have applied the old testament. :)