I try not to think about other people being a fly on the wall in my home. It’s the kind of thought that makes my chest tighten in anxiety because then they’d know how I really am.
Since we live with my parents right now, I have some (generally understanding) “flies on the wall” who see a lot of my mess. But they don’t see all of it. No, I save my best messiness for when I am trying to get out the door too late for afternoon swimming lessons, and I realize in the middle of the mayhem that somebody’s shoes have dropped numerous clods of grey, sandy dirt in a walk of shame from the back hallway to the back door.
|They like to run away from me.
And they’re FAST.
It was Floors Day. I had just finished sweeping and mopping the entire house during rest hour. And I had not had the best of days up to that point, but I had let myself indulge in feeling better with the small victory of returning home later to a picked-up house with shining floors.
I didn’t expect that I would respond so badly to the dirtied floor. I realized the extent of the mess and then suddenly I just Freaked Out. Enter frantic, flailing arms and scolding like an angry mother goose. My kids scattered to the wind to protect themselves, further feeding into the Freak Out as I tried to chase after each of them to see whose shoes had caused the damage and were (possibly) continuing to defile my clean floors.
Enter lots of mad/guilty/discouraged tears and also some pull-yourself-together tears at the kitchen table (while the kids were still hiding). Then hugs and kisses and teary, overly explanatory apologies to my unimpressed kids.
|Looking for tadpoles on a
trip to our local arboretum.
Recently, I had a new acquaintance tell me that she couldn’t imagine me ever raising my voice with my children. “You seem like such a sweet mother,” she said. My first thought at the time was a stabbing, if you saw me how I really am…
But you know what? Now that I am a little distanced from my most recent Freak Out episode and a lot more recollected in prayer, I need to say something to myself. Or to that lying voice in my head that wants me to think it’s me.
I am a sweet mother. That’s my desire, my goal, and my heart. My moments of weakness in mothering don’t add up to a total failure. Not even close.
Besides, a heart balanced in God looks to its fruits for affirmation. The three little fruits seem to be remarkably happy, well-adjusted kids, despite their mother having a really bad day ever so often, and even despite all that our family has been through these past couple of years. Is is just my kids, or are all children this naturally quick to forgive and quicker to love? I am blessed.:)