Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Start Over. Start Over. Start Over.

I come before you today a broken woman.  Temporarily broken, that is.  I know that I will pick up the pieces before this afternoon, put myself back together, and try to parent the best way I can for the rest of the night.  It could be that I’ll shatter into a million little pieces again before tonight, maybe even several times, but I’ll scrape myself off that floor and soldier on.


These boys are more than I can handle right now.  They whine, they throw fits, they disrespect me, they flaunt the rules, they ignore me and any request or question or order I might give, they talk back, and they’re teaching the baby to do the same, in his own little 19-month-old way.  My patience runs out before 8 am every. single. day.  I find myself screaming at them in anger and frustration.  They have taken to screaming back at me.  I, in turn, have taken to crying in the bathroom or in my car after I drop them at school.  I am ashamed of my behavior.  I am ashamed of theirs.




And still, I go on.  I will take them to ninja gymnastics tonight, I will feed them dinner, read them their stories, brush their teeth, and somehow put them to bed.  I will prep their diaper bags and backpacks and lunches for tomorrow.  I will find some words of kindness to give them even though I have nothing left.


After I took this video, I showed it to him. He stopped crying and asked me to play it again and again.


My children are beautiful.  They are smart and funny.  They are interesting.  I love them more than I love life itself.  But I am a poor excuse for a parent sometimes.  I get frustrated and I lose my cool, shouting at them, revoking every privelege they have, and stalking away when I can’t deal.  I feel alone and helpless in the face of the terrible mess I’m making of three humans.




Pick up the pieces.  Pray for guidance and forgiveness.  Hug and kiss them when I can’t find the words.  Remind them that I love them, even when I’m disappointed.  Wash, rinse, repeat.




“Do you see that line on the sidewalk, guys?” I said as we were on our way to school this morning.  “When we cross that line, we’re going to start over.  We’re going to start fresh for the day.  I’m sorry I got so frustrated with you, but I’m letting go.  And I forgive you for the way you behaved.  Let’s start again.  Let’s have an awesome day.”  And when we had to turn around because of a problem that wouldn’t let us continue our walk to school, I breathed deeply to stop the tears leaking from my eyes and said, “We’re starting fresh from this minute forward.  We’re starting new.  And I will have patience and I will be positive.”




Every minute.  Every second.  Start fresh.  Start over.




If the constant nagging, the lessons, the talks, the experiences, and all the other parenting work I do doesn’t penetrate into their thick skulls over the years, maybe they’ll at least learn that we can always make the choice to try again.  We can choose to pick up the pieces and start over, even if we have to keep picking them up and keep starting over every damn minute.

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