New year, new resolutions…right? I’m not much on New Years Resolutions, rather forming new disciplines, new practices, new habits. I’m sure it sounds the same, but I prefer to think of it this way. Somehow it seems more attainable, more positive to me.
Well, just today, I’m trying really hard to work on my reactions to my son. Since he is such an active one, it is super hard for me to not react when he’s being naughty by doing something I’ve repeatedly asked him not to do. For the past hour or so as I’ve been puttering around the house attempting to accomplish some little something while he’s awake, I’ve been intentionally ignoring him.
Let me explain. Not really am I ignoring him; rather, I’m choosing to ignore his negative behavior. Honestly, it’s more of an experiment I’m conducting. My husband, as well as other well-meaning friends, have told me that he thrives on my reactions. He enjoys manipulating me by acting out so he can generate a rise out of me. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes this morning, that’s for sure! He has been deliberately aggravating me trying as he might to get me stirred up emotionally.
I am sad to admit that as a fairly new Mom, I’ve turned into a yeller, screamer, and reactor of sorts. This has become a habit, unfortunately, and one I’m not so proud of, quite frankly. I have let my “adult temper tantrum” continue for far too long. It has negatively set the tone of our once peaceful home. I feel badly when my husband comes home from a long day at the office and I’m in a mood because I’m just at my tipping point. I realize that I need to make a change. A positive one. Sure, it’s normal as a SAHM to be wrung out at the end of a long day while at home with her little. After all, a Mom has been spit up on, cried on, argued with, yelled “no!” a zillion-and-one times to, temper tantrum-ed on end, chatted non-stop to, and quite possibly even trampled on emotionally throughout her day. Not to mention the never ending, constant repetition of correction and discipline, potty training, and teaching that transpires over the course of a mothers’ day. It certainly isn’t an easy job and pays SQUAT in monetary value. Yes, I said “SQUAT”!
I came to the realization of this in a big way on New Year’s Eve. My husband had come home from work on the early side to find me in a state. It wasn’t a “New York state of mind,” mind you. I had flat-out had it with my toddler. He had been on my last nerve pretty much all day long starting with his naughty behavior while making a simple return at Old Navy. Honestly, I’d barely entered the store before he was pitching a royal fit. Regrettably, it went ‘south on a bullet’ in the flash of a second. By the time my hubby arrived home eager to start his 3-day holiday week-end with a little football watching, my voice was escalating. I could see in a quick minute that he questioned whether he’d made the right decision to come home a little early. Understandably, he wanted peace. After all, isn’t our home to be a place of refuge and solace?
It was then that I knew I needed to turn this ship around before it sank. I didn’t want my husband to dread coming home anymore to find me in a funk. Enter, my decision to purse my lips as chaos flew around me in every way this morning. I mean to tell you, my kid was doing everything in his power to get me frazzled. Throwing things across the room, running around in my dining room (which is off-limits to him!), flinging freshly washed and folded clothes out of the laundry basket and onto the floor, chasing and agitating the dog, climbing on and jumping in the bed, refusing to let me change his nasty, stinky diaper, you name it, he was doing it and more! I could tell he was anxiously waiting for me to fly off the handle and he wasn’t getting zilch from me. Granted, internally I was chatting up a storm to God begging him to make my kid just stop so he wouldn’t hurt himself or, (even worse), break something.
I’m asking God to help me be intentional. Goodness knows, I cannot nip this in the bud on my own. I most definitely need some Divine intervention here! I decided to place one of those simple rubber band bracelets made popular by Lance Armstrong, as a remembrance to keep my cool, let it go, and give it to God. I wanted to be reminded of the kind of behavior that would be God-honoring rather than displeasing Him with my childish rants. I want to demonstrate godliness and grace to my son rather than him remember his mommy as being an out-of-control emotional freak.
Truly, my behavior boils down to control, or lack of it, in my case. I’m unhappy whenever I feel that my control is being usurped or threatened in any way. Now, you tell me, what on this earth do I have control of anyway? Nothing. I have control over zip in my life. However, I can choose to, with God’s help, to make positive changes in my life and in my behavior. To accomplish this, I must remember that “God is in Control,” as the popular Twila Paris song from the nineties reminds us.
I’m not suggesting that I have this thing mastered by any stretch! I am putting myself out there in hopes of gaining a little accountability to strive to be a better Mom in 2016. That’s my goal and challenge for this year. Won’t you join me?