I’ve been reading The Love Dare for Parents lately, and I tell ya what….
I’m only four days in, or maybe five ~ I lose track on account of how I’ve gone back and re-read the chapters two or four times each, ~ and it has gutted me.
Patient and Kind…
These words are stuck in head lately, and it’s because of this book. This book has hit me where it hurts, every single day.
I know love is patient. I know love is kind. I’ve had that whole passage from the Bible memorized since I was a kid.
It’s just that somewhere over the last three years, since I’ve let myself* be overwhelmed by single mom life, I MAY have forgotten to be patient and kind to my kids.
I mean, not that it’s NOT overwhelming being a single mom, but I say ‘let myself‘ because we ALL have stress and struggles, but we can choose to believe that
The Lord is my Shepherd and I CAN leave all the stress and strain and hard decision to HIM…
…but I forget.
I focus on ALL I HAVE TO DO, ALL ALONE, let myself feel overwhelmed, and don’t leave enough margin in my life for the extras like ‘patience’ and ‘kindness’ because DANGIT, WE HAVE TO GET DINNER COOKED AND GET HOMEWORK DONE AND I WORK, OK? I. WORK. AND IT’S A STRESSFUL JOB AND I AM ALREADY BEHIND AND THAT IS ALL THE BANDWIDTH I HAVE.
It’s super painful for me to admit this publicly, just so you know.
BUT it was also super painful for me to realize this about myself, and I have felt this heavy conviction about how I, alone, have made these last three years SO MUCH HARDER on my kids than it should have been, because I was not PATIENT AND KIND. I’m blinking back tears even typing that out.
The GOOD news is, I guess, that I am still capable of being convicted and changing my ways. And it WILL change, because I want my kids to have fond memories of their amazing childhoods growing up with me.
THANK GOD, I get a new chance every day.
Just yesterday morning, for instance, my patience and kindness levels got severely tested, as they tend to do, getting kids to school in the mornings…
Susie wasn’t wearing what Annie thought she should wear, and Annie was annoyed with it.
Susie was annoyed that Annie was treating her like a kindergartener.
Then one of them was in the way when the other one was making their lunch…
Yada yada yada.
Me: DO Y’ALL REALLY ENJOY THIS? DO YOU *ENJOY* THE WAY YOU TALK TO EACH OTHER?!
In all caps because I may have been yelling it.
We get into the car to leave, four minutes later than PRIME leave-the-house-time, steam already coming out of my ears, and I step outside into a river running down my driveway.
I gasp in horror at the water standing several inches deep around my tires.
Earthworms flopping around in the driveway because they’ve been flooded up out of the ground.
That’s when I realized someone had left the water hose running ALL. NIGHT. LONG.
I mean, WHO did it isn’t important right now, but that million dollar mistake, UGH, JUST WHEN DAVE RAMSEY’S GOT ME TWO STEPS FORWARD AND NOW I’LL HAVE TO TAKE ONE STEP BACK TO PAY FOR THIS WATER IN THE DRIVEWAY…. just UGH.
I squeal tires down the street, cranking up my ‘comfort food’ of Pandora stations, because music has a dramatic effect on my mood, always, and this morning’s mood called for some gritty, twangy music with a Red Dirt attitude and only Charlie Robison could meet those needs today.
Halfway to Susie’s school, Charlie’s singing about his hometown, my nerves are calming, slightly, and I realize Susie’s forgotten her birthday party invitations, THE ONES I SPECIFICALLY TOLD HER TO PUT IN HER BACK PACK LAST NIGHT. DID I NOT? TELL YOU? TO PUT THOSE? IN YOUR BACKPACK? LAST? NIGHT? I asked her, in all caps.
And then Annie shrieks, OH NO!!!!! I FORGOT MY ID!!!! TURN AROUND! I CAN’T GO TO SCHOOL WITHOUT IT!
And SOMEONE, who was ALREADY annoyed about the bickering and the running late and the WATER IN THE DRIVWAY almost blows a gasket.
SOMEONE started to sternly lecture about how I WORK FULL TIME AND I HAVE A FULL DAY AND I CANNOT. CANNOT!! BE DRIVING CIRCLES AROUND TYLER ALL DANG DAY LONG TO BRING YOU THINGS THAT YOUUUUUUUUU FORGOT…..
And the Holy Spirit reminded me…
Patient and kind. Patient and kind. Patient and kind.
Be patient and kind with them because they’re kids, and they do kid things.
And I decided to just be quiet. Quiet, but there was tension. We all felt it.
And that’s when Roger Creager started singing about Everclear and tequila and beer and leaving sweet Miss Sherrie-Ann in the yard and whatnot, and I had JUST decided MAYBE I should change to maybe, you know, Lauren Daigle or something, when Annie says,
Oh, THAT’S a real good song for 8am….
I laughed. Annie laughed.
And that’s when poor little Susie in the back seat lost it.
YOU CAN FORGIVE ANNIE BUT YOU CAN’T FORGIVE ME!! YOU CAN’T FORGIVE ME FOR ONE WHOLE YEAR!!!
Unbeknownst to me, Susie had been beating herself up in the backseat for forgetting her birthday party invitations.
I had to tell her that it was ok.
We all forget things sometimes. Sheesh, I forget one thing per hour. That’s 24 forgotten things a day. Nine thousand a year.
I assured her I would be able to bring her party invitations to school later.
And I’m not mad.
It’s a work in progress, this patient and kind thing.
My kids need me to be a patient and kind mama, and God seems to be giving me lots of tests lately to prove I can handle that.
And MAYBE… if the mama is more patient and kind, the kids will learn to treat each other better in the mornings before school.
I’m working on it.