Today was a busy day, filled with church (a 3+ hour affair), a visit from Grandma and Grandpa, and the excitement of Daddy (a.k.a. The Husband) being home all day. The kids were WIRED. On top of that, Oompa Loompa skipped his nap (unless you count the nap in the van on the way home from church) and both of the kids had some ice cream after dinner, a rare sugary treat.
Needless to say, they crashed HARD by bedtime. Munchkin, in particular, became very uncharacteristically unhinged. The solution was simple: we needed to get through the bedtime routine, post haste.
Every night, as part of our kids’ bedtime ritual, my husband and I read them a devotion out of the Little Blessings book “The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers.” When The Husband opened up the book and started to read (over the hysterical sobbing and flailing of my almost five year old, who was sprawled out in my lap) a devotion entitled something like, “Don’t Stay Mad,” I nearly lost it. The whole situation was just absurd. I snickered and shook with pent-up laughter while my daughter wailed louder at my seeming lack of concern for her emotional state and my husband read on and on about how it’s not okay to stay mad.
If I have to pick between laughing and getting angry, I’m glad to be able to pick laughing. (Being literally seconds away from bedtime doesn’t make the choice hard, either, because we all know that after bedtime, it’s Mommy Time! Yay!) We got the kids in bed, they fell asleep quickly, and now I’m enjoying a cuppa tea. They’ll feel better in the morning. (And even if they aren’t, I’m bringing them over to my parents place anyway. Haha!)
The truth is, it isn’t productive to get worked up about it. A worked-up and upset parent is usually just as wild as a worked-up and upset child, and the child will just because more hysterical. When I recognized this cycle and learned to separate my emotions from the trivial actions of my young kids, I became a much happier parent, and in turn my kids developed much better attitudes. That doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about their bad behavior, but when I get mad, I start behaving in a way that doesn’t reflect God. And that’s not an appropriate role model for an ever-watchful child. In fact, I truly believe that Satan is immensely satisfied when the Angry Child->Angry Parent cycle perpetuates itself, because it takes all focus off of God and puts it into the sin of anger, and strengthens the habit of falling into that sin for both parent and child.
I’m not saying I never get angry, because I still do. And my kids aren’t angels, either (as you can plainly see from our chaotic bedtime scene). But my patience muscle is getting stronger, and it shows in my kids.
What helps me the most is to understand (especially for 25-month-old Oompa Loompa) that they are still young, and at the moment they are misbehaving they are probably tired or hungry or repeatedly harassed by their sibling. When I rectify the physical root cause (food, naps, or separating them), the behavior usually improves.
Another reason they might be misbehaving is that I haven’t been making an effort to be a good mommy, which is to say I’ve been ignoring their pleas for me to play with them or help them with something or to include them in what I am doing. When I remember and cling to the fact that they are still so young and have their whole hearts open to loving me and accepting my leadership and instruction, I recognize the impact my everyday actions have on them. Every time I dismiss them, they are affected by it. Sometimes I need to be alone, and I need them to go play. (Nobody I know enjoys having an audience when they use the bathroom!) But do I really need them to go away when I’m cooking or cleaning or just plain feeling harassed? Or can I use that as an opportunity to not only spend quality time with them, but also to teach them valuable skills, character qualities, and life truths through my words and actions? (Deuteronomy 11:19) Our society today values many deleterious things above what is good and right. Every effort I make now in the fight for good will help to defend the good we value as a family when they are older and in the world.*
Now after I’ve gone and said all of that, sometimes my kids are just plain mischievous. And that’s completely different. 😉
And now for something completely different, here’s what we’re having for dinner this week:
Monday: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Tuesday: Loaded Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries
Wednesday: Beef Curry with Rice
Thursday: Roasted Vegetable Hummus Tart
Friday: Avocado Chicken Parmigiana
Saturday: (Night out with The Husband!)
I like posting what I’m making here because 1.) I like having accountability in making home-cooked meals and not eating out, and 2.) I’m always really interested in what other families do for dinners. Plus I just love to cook and try new recipes, as being a stay at home mom doesn’t lend well to most other hobbies.
Another thing regarding the meals I make is that I’ve switched to a low(ish)-carb diet. Long story short, I have reason to think I may have developed insulin resistance somewhere along the way, and that switching to a lower-carb diet would help with my health issues. I’ve severely cut back on starchy foods like bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta, and I’ve almost completely cut out sweets and added sugars. I still eat all the fruits and vegetables I want. I’ve been eating this way for nearly about a month, and I’ve seen great things happen for my health! Praise God! I’m not totally convinced that my diet is the reason behind the change, but the only thing I can do is wait and observe and pray I’m on to something. It’s working so far.
(You might notice that the meals I make still contain carb-heavy foods, like rice and bread products. I let my family eat most of that part of the meal. I might have a small portion of those, or just omit them altogether on my plate.)
Have a great week!
*I would be remiss to not mention that this parenting commentary may have been partially influenced by a parenting seminar at our church that The Husband and I have been attending called Parenting is Heart Work, which today happened to discuss attitudes as they relate to parenting. Truthfully, though, this has all been swimming around in my head for awhile and is just now getting out through my fingers and onto the keyboard.