Starting over and over… (and a child’s love)

This was one of those weekends. You know, the kind that makes you look forward to Monday morning. Yeah, one of those. When I woke up on Saturday morning I was motivated and encouraged. I had my weekend planned out to the minute. I was going to hit the gym, do some grocery shopping, buy a couple of gifts for a double birthday party the kids and I were going to later that day, and then pick up the boys from their dad’s place… all by 10am. I was that sure of myself.

And so I jumped out of bed, got dressed and headed to the gym. As-soon-as-I-put-my-car-into-park at the gym my phone dinged. The boys were ready to be picked up. I let out an enormous defeated sigh as I gathered up the shattered pieces of my heart from the bottom of my floorboard, shifted my car into drive and headed that way.

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. I’ve been feeling awfully sorry for myself for a number of reasons. I’ve been completely uninspired while dealing with an expected slump at work, in my personal life, in my parenting and in my faith. God was really working very hard on something in my heart and I was stubbornly pushing away. So, when my phone dinged that morning, my world completely shifted on it’s axis and I found myself back at that place.

I’m sure anybody that does any sort of shared parenting understands that there is an adjustment period between homes. There are different sets of rules and different expectations. It takes kids a while to get adjusted to each place after every switch. We can usually be back to the norm of our home by lunchtime on Saturdays after picking them up that morning. Not this weekend. My older boy was especially sensitive and the younger boy especially defiant. By the time we got home from running all of our errands we had experienced at least a dozen tantrums and countless tears had been shed, by all parties.

I’m a screamer. Well, mostly a recovering screamer nowadays but one nonetheless. I’m not proud of this but when I lose my cool, I get loud. I was very proud of the fact that this had become a rarity in my home as of late. I was loud a lot this weekend, and of course, it wasn’t making anything better. It was making everything worse and prohibiting the boys from adjusting back to the peace of our home. Over and over again I would center myself and over and over again I would lose. It wasn’t a total failure, we still did the fun things we had planned but in between I felt nothing but chaos.

Children are so forgiving. And they love us unconditionally. They let us make mistakes over and over again. I’m so thankful for that. And because children are so loving and forgiving, we must be parents that are BIG enough to ask for their forgiveness when we mess up. It teaches our children accountability. It also teaches them that we’re human just like they are, we’re imperfect just like they are. And it teaches them that respect goes both ways.

I did that today. After making myself take some quiet time alone, I called each boy over to me individually and asked that they forgive me for not being the best mom that I could be this weekend. For not being as patient and understanding as I could be. I made sure not to bring up anything that they had done to trigger MY response because I did not want THEM to feel any sort of responsibility for that. I simply apologized. And then talked to them together about what we all could have done differently to get along better and have a better weekend. Then I asked them how we could end the weekend on a happier note and what I could do to make it up to them.

So instead of cooking dinner like I do every other Sunday night, we headed out for dinner and a treat.

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I won’t say that our evening ended perfectly, but at least we had some laughs and maybe too much sugar.

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