When your teething son essentially whines the entire evening and your 3-year-old has 3 potty accidents in one day, it is hard to end the day on a good note. “Enjoy the ride” they said. “Make the most of every moment” they said.
I recently had one of those days where I truly felt how hard it is to enjoy every moment with your child. They really do grow up too quickly and we do not get any of the past time back. However, some days I really do want to be upset at my children and give them the silent treatment. Unfortunately, they do not quite understand what silent treatment is, so it benefits no one in the equation. The frustrations that come with parenting are so unique. As a parent, you often have to forgive and forget within seconds of the offense. Young children, specifically, just don’t have the comprehension to understand “mommy/daddy is upset; I should leave them alone for a minute”. This evening, right before I was about to bathe the kids, Makenzie pees right on the bath mat, while still in her clothes. Notice, I said bath mat. In our bathroom, the bath mat happens to be right next to the toilet! Yet, she had an accident. I had Brayden in the tub, so, I called for Vic to come to my rescue and help with Makenzie. He gave her a quick shower, because in our household you do not get the pleasure of playing in bubbly toy-filled water if a potty accident happened right before bath time (don’t judge us). We were both irritated, but still handling our parental duties, including a potty lecture during bath time. I finished bathing Brayden and took him to the bedroom to lotion him up.
I hear Makenzie say to Vic, “you have to do Mommy’s baby girl”. It’s something I have done with her pretty much since birth. I cradle her in my arms, like a newborn, while she is wrapped in her bath towel and I kiss her on the cheek while saying “Mommy’s baby girl”, in a melodic way. If Vic is giving her a bath, he will say “Daddy’s baby girl”. Of course, Makenzie wanted to keep the bath time routine going and requested her Daddy still cradle her in his arms, despite how irritated he might have been in that moment. I could hear him begin to say, “we’re not doing…” and I yelled from the other room “You still have to do it”. Every parent knows the struggle of being asked to cuddle during a moment when you are irritated with your child. I knew that he couldn’t walk out of that bathroom without doing “Daddy’s baby girl”. Of course, he did it, and joyfully at that. Makenzie was happy and had forgotten all about her potty accident. I was still side eyeing her though, haha.
How ironic, that when I finally sat down to open my daily scripture, it was Ephesians 5:1-2. Verse 2 instructs us to “…walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us…”. Gotta love a good reminder! Everything that happened this evening came full circle as I meditated on this verse and considered how I have to express love to my children despite the happenings of the day. Man, that’s tough! I cannot just skip over a moment to show love to my daughter because she has irritated me. This verse made me think about how I have disappointed and disobeyed God. Yet, he still loves me. I know I have had days where I have irritated God to the core, but He has never withheld His love from me.
This is how we are to love our children as well, even when they have gotten on our very last nerve. I wish I could say that I am a great role model for this, but I am still a work in progress. I really want to challenge myself to lead with love, even in times of discipline. All parents know the struggle is real! I consider the moment of Makenzie getting out the tub and wanting to do “Mommy’s baby girl”. I have to ask myself, which response teaches a greater lesson, denying her or showing her love, despite the offense? I think it speaks volumes for me to have the teaching moment (aka discipline), then show her love like nothing happened, because at the end of the day, my love is supposed to be unconditional, not based on if she is “good enough” on any particular day. If it is my job to show my children love and teach them how to love I know I must do a better job, because they are always paying attention and I would hate for them to mislead because of my own actions!