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This morning has started much like any other morning. As I’m bustling around getting the dishwasher unloaded and realizing there is still a very sticky spot on my floor that warrants some mopping (which I hate doing so the sticky spot will probably greet me for a few more days), the usual search for something to do is had by my children. At this point in the day, I’m just wanting to gather my own thoughts and figure out what my top priorities for the next several hours will be. This morning, laundry and cleaning the playroom/sewing room were the two I came up with. So, as I dug right in, my kids were underfoot as they usually are. They just want to be in the same space. And 75% of the time, I remind myself that in not too many years, they will be hiding from me in their rooms and I’ll just want to be in their same space. So, I often just step over and around them and watch them destroy the same space I’m currently trying to clean. It’s a bit maddening, really. But I somehow keep subjecting myself to it.
This morning, however, I lost my cool. And I won’t pretend that doesn’t happen often. It totally does. But this morning I ended up yelling. Loud. At my most tender little five year old. I hate yelling. My parents didn’t yell and I have no idea why it comes out of me at those precious little people I spend all my time with. Probably because I spend all my time with them. And though they are precious, their whining and fighting and moving faster than I can keep up with can push me right over the edge into a full, adult sized tantrum. Seriously. If someone were watching, I’d be so embarrassed. And sometimes I think about the fact that I am only a few years shy of being forty years old and I still have tantrums. How in the world was I given four children to be responsible for? I literally am not sure sometimes.
Usually my tantrums are pretty private and I thought this morning was no different. Then…just after that very short but very loud moment with my five year old, I saw my neighbour pulling weeds in the corner of her yard that is so very close to mine. In fact, its closest to the exact window I was standing by when I had my mature melt down. And I felt so embarrassed. ‘Cause I know she heard me. Oh, yes she did. I have been outside in our front yard and I have heard the squeals and laughter of my little nuggets while the door was closed and one would wish the house was sound proof. But it ain’t. Not even a little bit.
Even though my neighbor most certainly heard my loud ‘reminder’ to my daughter that we will not whine, what she didn’t hear was my quick apology. My message was correct, my delivery was not. And for that I owed my little red head a sincere apology that reminded her that she does not deserve to be yelled at. That I was sorry and I was hoping to receive her forgiveness. And she always forgives me so quickly. It’s incredibly humbling.
My take away from this delightfully embarrassing moment this morning: anyone, at any time might get a small glimpse of me as a mom. They will likely see the ugly and loud moments. Sometimes it’s me. Sometimes it’s them. Those kinds of moments are easy to catch. Easy to judge. Easy to compare with. But, they will not often or easily see the quiet, tender, humbling moments shared between me and my child when she or I apologize. Those are the moments I want to catch. That I want to hold as our standard. That I want to be my base line.
Admittedly, it momentarily bothered me that my neighbor heard me yell but didn’t see me apologize…like I even wanted to go out and tell her of my remorse and the fact that I begged forgiveness from my child and that I really am a good mom. However, I think that might have made me seem crazier than the fact that a mom of four kids ages seven and under yelled for 10 seconds. I think every mom can actually totally relate to that. We don’t like that we do it, but we’re not perfect. We reach our limits and instead of calmly walking away and counting to ten or hiding in the bathroom with a cookie to calm down, we give in and yell. Happens to me. And I keep apologizing. Because what my kids think of my mothering matters so much more than what anyone else thinks of it. And what I know of my kids is so much more important than what any other person thinks of them.
Mamas, most of the time, we just have to be ok with the ugly and loud moments that other people witness. It does not change one bit of the reality of who we are as a mom or who our little nuggets are. You are theirs and they are yours. Both parties have tantrums and hopefully we’ll all outgrow them eventually.