She stood in the yard. Her tiny 4 year body with her grown-up size lungs and voice, screaming furry at me. She'd said she was going around to the garage to get her shoes, so Daisy, our dog, and I took off slowly for our morning walk. She always runs to get her shoes and she always catches right up with us before we are even out of our yard. Today, she couldn't decide which shoes to wear, and being overtired, she just stood there and screamed her little head off at me. (Sorry, neighbors!)
I, also being tired, and already annoyed because the older girls got into a fight about the dog and who was taking her out, was not in the mood for a toddler tantrum. I hollered back for her to find some shoes and get going, but she wasn't going anywhere.
I walked a little to the left and a little to the right, kinda pacing, praying for a miracle that I knew wasn't going to happen. I Knew she wasn't going to magically decide to pick some shoes and put them on. But I kept pacing, waiting for her to join us and waiting for the doggy to do her thing. As I was pacing and waiting and offering my, "come on baby, let's go potty" to the dog, Ella got madder and madder and madder by the second.
By now, she was FURIOUS. If you are reading from Kentucky or Massachusetts or Florida, maybe you heard her there. She ROARS! She stomps. Her arms flail about. When she gets mad, she don't play! She has no shame in her tantrum game, and despite all my efforts to calm her down and help her recover, she wasn't recovering.
And the dog never went potty. Sorry if that's TMI.
I brought the dog and my girl, kicking and screaming back into the house, went into my bedroom, closed the door, grabbed my bible and read. And tried to breathe. And relax. And calm down.
She tried to come in to my bedroom screaming at me, demanding we get her shoes on and go back out again, but NOPE, I wasn't having it. Not today sister!
We stayed out too late last night. We were celebrating our oldest daughter's volleyball team. We woke up super early yesterday, celebrating Mike's birthday.
I've read all the books and know almost all the ways to be a "good momma" and to get it "right" but realistically, life happens and we have to be able to keep going. The books would say set a bedtime schedule and stick to it, which is what we normally do well, but then volleyball season comes along, and whoever wrote all those parenting books maybe didn't have a 12 year and a toddler at the same time?!?!?! Maybe they hired a sitter to stay with the baby or maybe a family or friend helped, or maybe one parent stayed home, but not us. While we highly value sleep and routine and consistency, we also choose to show up for each other, even if it means waking up to an overtired group of kids.
I knew as mad as she was, getting her to go into time out was going to take more energy than I had, and honestly, I was so overdone with the tantrum, and the big girls, and the dog not "going" that I didn't have any more fight in me.
I told her, "I'm going to give myself a time out and calm down. You also calm down and then we can get you ready for preschool."
I read a tiny bit, calmed down, she eventually calmed down, and off we went to school.
I told her I loved her. That I was sorry for yelling at her. I had her say sorry. We hugged and kissed and went on our way. We listened to her favorite music. I brought her home from school, made her favorite, and about the only thing she likes to eat for lunch, a grilled cheese, we sang lots and lots of nursery rhymes, read some books, rocked and then put her down for a nap.
While she was out at school, I had to run some errands and I listened to a podcast about "purpose" and how our purpose is to LOVE each other.
No matter where you work or what you are doing, your purpose is to love your neighbor. Your "neighbor" being, those people around you. Family, friends, co-workers, actual neighbors, etc.
Loving her today in her overtired state meant giving myself a break from her. I was starting to feel more frustrated than I should have been, and I knew I needed to calm down. Even if just for 5 minutes. Loving her meant forgiving her. For considering the circumstances and not making excuses for her, but knowing that her coping skills are not too hot when she's overtired. I know they will get better as she gets older.
So that's it. That my 2 cents for today. Remember your purpose here is to LOVE others. Not to be a perfect momma or to keep a perfect schedule so that you can have a perfect child. Not to always get it right. But to be able to give yourself space and grace and to give others space and grace when you know you and they need it.
Instead of focusing on getting everything around us "perfect" or creating perfect circumstances or having the perfect family or home or spouse, so that we can live a good life, just focus on LOVING people in the imperfect circumstances that you are in.
Thank you Edie Wadsworth for pointing me back to God's word about our purpose and for reminding me to love well today.
A terrible morning doesn't have to turn into a terrible afternoon. A little time to "recover" and rest and pray goes a long way! Give yourself a time out if you need it.
Give yourself permission to forgive. Other's and yourself. Have a "recovery" mindset. I have heard my husband say a million times, "Okay guys, let's all try to recover here!" In other words, let's all get past the spilled milk, or the fight about who was taking out the dog, or who snuck whose halloween candy, and let's have a good rest of the day. Or maybe, let's have a good hour. Let's just all try to get through the next thing peacefully and lovingly.
I say good mommas and pappas are forgiving and loving above all else. We see our own flaws. We see them in our kids and spouses and "Neighbors" but we keep a mindset that says, I will forgive. I will quickly recover. We will move on and seek more Joy in the Chaos of this life.