First of all, a funny little note: my girls are of course Moana crazy these days and the other day, my 6 year old goes "Mom... I wish...." and I quickly finished her sandwich, i.e. sentence (lol, tell me if you got that reference) I said "that you could be the perfect daughter?" She rolled her eyes at me.
Anyways, back to my blog post - there was a distinct time at swimming class two weeks ago when I realized I had become the epitome of "that mom" that I had always looked down on. You know, the ones who seemed so annoyed by their child talking to them, their lack of care for those around them, and the way they seemed to not want to have children...and you just want to say 'why in the world do you have so many kids if you seem so danged bothered to be around them?!?'
Fast-forward 10 years and here I am with 3 kids. The other day I took my two girls to swimming. They were already delirious - we got home and I made them a snack they couldn't find the time to eat and though I had planned and prepped to leave so we would be in time for our groupon procured swimming class, we still left late. With a baby in the house, I have been grooming these two older girls to pack their things, to keep track of their swimsuits and goggles and the like. Even in spite of my best efforts and in spite of tracking down their goggles, we arrive at swimming class a few minutes late and with no goggles. Instead of my daughters hauling quickly into the door, they drag their feet with no sense of time. I could smell the money burning up that I had spent on their class. They got to class and then after class, they spent the entire time staring at everyone there. They wouldn't undress, they wouldn't dry off...the instructor asks where are their swim passports they gave them and I had dutifully put it in their bags only to find that my younger girl took it out and put it on the table at home. They wouldn't take off their suits and when they tried, they would whine because it was tight or stuck, it just seemed that every little thing I had to say to them 5 times before they would start to do what was needed and if it didn't go perfectly, it would devolve into a fit of whining.
I had recently taught my kids a new mantra to model the one they learned at karate (the other class they are currently taking). The original goes "avoid fighting, look for the good, hide your weapons" and it goes with three hand motions like the hands together that they do before and after a match. Well, I adopted a new mantra and it goes "no whining, no crying, and no fighting". Even in spite of my best efforts, it just seemed everything had become a whine and a cry and a fight.
I saw myself at the swimming school, a shell of my former self, with no patience and no ounce of evidence that I enjoyed myself at that moment. I simply wanted to go home and disappear from everyone. When I was short with my kids I thought I could feel the eyeballs of all the patient and amazing moms around me burning a hole in the back of my head. I didn't even have the energy to fake that I was patient and caring. I realized I had become 'that mom.' What happened to me and what went wrong? All my kids are darling, cute as a bug, and precocious. Where was my love for them, my treasuring every moment with them? In that moment, it was completely gone and I thought to myself, the other moms must be thinking 'why is she a mom if she hates it so much?' I sat while I watched my daughter not be able to do anything but stare at people. They would drop their towels and clothes on the floor, not considering how dirty it could be or that someone would step on. Where are their manners?! Why are they not listening to me? Why do they not respond to my calling them? Can you imagine that even after swimming I was crazy enough to take my kids skating after that?!?!? They had been asking for months and Tuesday was the only day we could go.
Anyways, there is no perfect ending here to this post. Since that day, I've had more frustrating moments and I don't always feel I'm completely able to cope perfectly in every situation. One thing I am thankful for is that having these situations arise are a constant reminder to focus on maintaining my spiritual and mental health. I just saw a post today saying that if we are empty we have nothing to give. It is true.
This is a song that I grew up with from church "when we have exhausted our store of endurance, when our strength has failed ere the day is half done, when we've reached the end of our hoarded resources, our Father's full giving is only begun." https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/nt/723
Sometimes my resources run out and I need that to happen so that I can get grace to get through the day. I'm thankful for these situations that become my reminder of my need to slow down and spend time self-correcting.