Not too long ago, every day was grouchy. My previous post explained how I kicked Grouchy to the curb and found joy in my life. And really, most days are productive and fun. Bliss! But I'm telling you, my friends, yesterday was not one of those good days.
I didn't returned to my old ways in full force, but I sure felt the tightness of irritation and not much joy. Yelling at my children is just one symptom and snappy remarks, sarcasm, and even detachment are just as harmful. Writing about what I'm going through isn't actually fun for me. Sure is easier to act perfect (especially in the blogging world). Yet, I feel a burden to share this journey. Thank you for your encouraging comments! I tell myself as I write each post that if I get no feedback at all that it is okay -- let God be in charge of where my words fall. My prayer is that other women can find the freedom in God's ever sufficient grace and the joy of truly engaging with their children.
So, back to my terrible day. There are triggers and identifying them can save the "blow up" from occurring. Even my best intentions were pummeled:
- staying in bed late when the rest of the family is up.
- skipping Bible reading.
- skipping exercise.
- skipping Rem's morning nap so we could go for a walk.
- potty training Mandy and the frequent "accidents."
- teaching Emma to ride her bike and start and stop by herself on our road.
- poor time management.
- convincing Emma that the world did not fall off of its axis because she scraped her elbow and knee 3/4th of a mile away from home. And no, I could not carry her bike, her, and push the stroller.
- being overheated (sounds lame, but I'm a tender flower when it comes to the sun)
- a messy house
- dishwasher that needs to be run at least twice to hold all the dirty dishes on the counter
- a toddler who unfolds the laundry I stayed up until midnight folding (and never put away, obviously)
- house projects that I see all day, but can't finish by myself.
- trying to talk on the phone with a friend and being interrupted by fighting children.
- finding Mandy's poop in my bedroom.
- finding Mandy's poop in the lawn.
- never finding Mandy's poop in the toilet.
- a husband whose phone is out of range all day and doesn't come home until after the kids are in bed.
- feeding myself and children Mac n' Cheese for dinner and reading the calories on the side of the box as I shovel another bite into my mouth. 100, 200, 300, 400.... 956.
All these things happened in my day. Some were by choice. Others were out of my control. Yet, all started the same chain reaction that I feel when frustration and irritation turn to anger. Whether I am mad at myself or someone or something else, my chest feels tight, I feel physically hot, my movements are jerky and rough, and my hands clench and want to hit something. Really, I just want to escape to a world where everything is just perfect. A perfect world where I would lounge around in a soft colored sweater set and never, never find poop in my room.
I recognize the physical signs and can usually back away before I do something or say something that I regret. When I started this process in November, each challenge felt like Mt. Everest. The best part of taking the control back from my own angry self and giving it to God is that with my behavior changes, it's getting easier. I talk myself down, come up with a game plan, pray for more wisdom, more strength, a dose of joy.... and a housekeeper.... and a free scholarship for Mandy to attend potty training camp.
When I slip back to my bad habits, I repent and try, try again. I have no fear that the challenges will keep coming my way like the weird game of Outhouse on my family's circa 1986 computer where we used the arrow keys to escape flying rolls of toilet paper. If I've snapped at the children I apologize and ask forgiveness. If I'm mad at myself, I make changes to accommodate my time management and figure out a way to make it right. I also ask myself if my expectations are too high or if I really made a poor choice: having a perfectly clean living room all day = unrealistic; loading the dishwasher after each meal = doable.
PS You should be very thankful that there are no pictures that accompany this post. :)