Of course when I have decided that I am really going to focus in on positive parenting and succeed, every single child gets sick. This last week I have had two kids with pneumonia, one with bronchitis and one with a really high fever and a nose that won't stop dripping. Needless to say, this is my eighth night without measurable amounts of sleep and now I think my body is adjusting to this horrible schedule.
All positive vibes went out the door by day 2. Four whiny children, four very demanding children, four very loud children and one really tired mama did not equal out to much Fruit of the Spirit being displayed in the Sharon home this week. In fact, my gross, horrible, ugly self that I so want to not be a part of my life anymore reared its ugly head and I found myself in a pit of frustration and anger.
I think that any reasonable person would allow me to throw this week out and say it was the exception, that I am tired and it's understandable. But, unfortunately I cannot. At the end of this journey of motherhood, I want it to be about them - not about me. I cannot dismiss my anger, lack of patience and frustration because I know the circumstances around it. They are three years old. My first memory was when I was three, and I can guarantee you that I remember what I remember, not the circumstances around it. I don't want my kids to have their first memory be me screaming on the top of my lungs because I have lost all patience with them. Now, I will have grace on myself - but I will not excuse my behavior. This week, I have acted poorly.
As I just mentioned, I have a tendency to be a yeller which angers me to no end. I remember my mom yelling at me all the time and telling myself that I would never yell. And here I am yelling. Yelling is so annoying. I can't imagine I look loving, engaging, nurturing, or anything that my children want to be around when I'm screaming at them. Quite honestly, I don't want to be around myself when I am yelling. Sometimes I tell myself it's the only way I will be heard over the noisy chaos of our home. So. Not. True.
The week before my children decided to make me their slave and nurse, I was able to really focus on my tone. When I got frustrated, instead of having an angry tone I made sure my tone was that of disappointment. When I wanted to scream because no one was even acknowledging that I had been speaking for the last five minutes, I quieted my voice down. Those things worked!!! When I spoke quietly, they listened. My house was actually calmer that week than it has ever been.
It seemed like the "good week" I was gentle and kind with my words. I was working on being encouraging and patient. I wanted to "see the good in everything" and "not fly off the handle" like The Message paraphrase put it. However, this last "bad week" I was functioning from the seat of my pants and my words were sharp and my patience was nil and when I spoke sharply the response I received was horrible.
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1 (TNIV)
So, this week as my children are on the mend I am going to focus on the gentle and kind part of the Fruit of the Spirit. I am going to once again focus on my words, and speak quietly instead of with harshness - and I think my oncoming sore throat will help with that challenge :) Have a great weekend!