Friday, August 29, 2014

Refining my mother heart

There have been many days where I have felt very stretched lately. More than usual. I have many moments where I feel at a crossroad; I can choose to react with anger and frustration or with patience and love. I wish I could say I always am patient and loving. 

Millie loves to have chocolate milk with her breakfast in the morning. A few weeks ago I made her a cup and put it on the table with a straw. Within a few minutes I heard it splash everywhere, and was instantly mad. It was 7am and it was already "one of those days" for me - the night before had been rough with Max, and I was near tears sending Tyler off to work, just feeling unable to do it on my own for some reason. Millie had just added fuel to my fire and I felt ready to blow. I turned to look at her, already growling. Or something. Some angry noise. I'll never forget the look on her face as she looked up at me. She was shocked, cold, wet, and waiting for (probably scared of) my reaction. I knew that how I treated her in this situation would set the tone for the rest of the day. I tried to remember that she is 2 years old, meaning that spills are just part of the deal. And she probably didn't do it on purpose. So I asked her if she was okay, wiped her off, and got her a new glass of chocolate milk. In a sippy cup, this time - I'm no dummy. She was so relieved that I wasn't angry, and the rest of our day was good once I mopped the floor and shook off my bad attitude.

Contrast that with the other day... it had been a really busy day. The kind where you're only at home long enough to grab more diapers or snacks or something before running off to the next thing - the house was a disaster, the kids were off their normal schedule, Max was refusing to nurse all day, and I had a sore throat and could feel a cold coming on. We had been shopping for curtain/ottoman fabric (yay!) with my mom earlier that day and Millie got Monka to buy her some bubbles that were in the clearance section of JoAnn's. I told her over and over (and over) that they were only to be opened and played with outside. In fact, I never even broke the seal because I knew it'd be too much of a temptation for her. But I sat down to (attempt to) feed Max and saw the little bottle of bubbles on the floor, seal open somehow, and now empty, its contents on our rug. I lost it! I yelled and told her how frustrated I was that she had opened it when I told her it was only to be opened outside. I yelled to the point where she walked over to pick it up with her hands over her face, avoiding eye contact. I mean, really. Even though she had disobeyed, it didn't warrant that severe of a reaction. The rug was fine (truth be told, that soapy water probably did more good than harm)! Luckily, children forgive easily.

When I think about these (and many many many) other times where I can practice kindness and love, a quote pops into my head. I looked and tried to find it - I thought it was from Elder Holland, but I couldn't find what I was looking for. Anyway, something to this effect: our homes and our families are our own personal laboratories to test and practice Christlike traits! It's the perfect setting, because there are the most opportunities to make that choice at home, and obviously we have family at home. Family that we want to be with eternally. When I remember that, the choice is clear to me: I want to do and be better.


Ben, Charlotte, Troy, and Liam said...

Love the honesty. And I feel like I just read my own journal. Good to know I'm not alone. I'm SO grateful that kids are forgiving and that I can do better today than yesterday.

Lindsay said...

Oh Cam I loved this. Every mother can relate on a daily basis!! I think it's even exacerbated with babies for some reason. Thanks for the reminder though. I certainly haven't been choosing the patient and kind responses lately

The Freeman Family said...

Thanks Camille. Just what I needed to read today! xxx

Kimberly said...

I totally know that look that Millie gave you -- waiting to see what response you might give! Thanks for this reminder. The way we react to them is how they learn to react to each other and to others. I'm trying to remember that. Oh man some days it's so hard! You're such a great Mom. Keep it up!!!