I’m a bad mom. As I usually have to make dinner while I have the kids around, I generally put on a TV show to keep them occupied. (No, this isn’t the bad mom part.) Last night they were giggling a lot, and I was distracted because I was making a new recipe, so I didn’t check on them. That was a big mistake. Exhibit A shows the damage they did, in a few minutes of I’m sure what they thought was good, clean fun. That pile, before dinner, was folded laundry.
I lost it. If you have an infant, you lose it when your baby wakes you for the third time in three hours, screaming, and you have no idea why. And you shout in your head, “Shut the BLEEP up,” while wishing you could put her outside to sleep, just for a few hours so you could think straight again. Of course, instead, you probably pick up your baby in your stupor and rock her as your anger needle drops, because rationalization overcomes your frustration. (She is, after all, a defenseless baby.)
But when your kids are a little older, and they have brains that work, and you’ve told them before not to play with folded laundry, the anger that wells up from direct disobedience in a fleeting moment can overwhelm you. I would go so far as to say I can have an out-of-body experience. This isn’t a defenseless child; this is someone who made a conscious decision to combat you, just because it was fun, or just to see what you would do in return. It is an ex-haus-ting, often daily, battle.
But (always afterwards) I realize that’s not a good reason to lose it. I yelled about how I’d asked her not to do that before, and how that meant I would have to re-fold it, and how I don’t have time to do that, and it’s inconsiderate and mean to do such a thing to your poor mother. And what that means is that all last night and all this morning, Eliza kept saying, “Mommy, you’re not happy with me. You yelled at me. I’m sorry” in a way that indicates the hurt I put on her was far worse than the frustration of re-folding laundry. I forgot about re-folding the laundry by this morning. Eliza, however, couldn’t forget hurting me in such a way that caused me to react like that.
I hope that next time I can look at the laundry pile and laugh, because my kids had a blast making the mess. After all, it’s laundry. I should be thankful we have clothes to wear, and a working washer and dryer to clean them, not to mention my floor was mopped earlier in the day, so the clothes were still clean. Next time, I hope I can bring myself to say, “Oh gosh, that’s going to take some time to clean up. Can you help me, because it’s okay to make a mess as long as you clean it up,” which would turn the situation into a teaching moment.
I hope next time I can react in such a way that doesn’t make me feel like a bad mom. I’m not going to beat myself up over it anymore, because one thing my kids are already teaching me is that their grace, like God’s, is new each day. And that reminds me that I might have bad moments, but I’m a good mom.