The other morning, my son had a full out meltdown while we were trying to get ready for the day. He didn’t want to go to school, so he was using every tool he could think of to try and stay home.
He didn’t feel good.
There was too much snow.
His school uniform didn’t fit.
His coat was the wrong color.
His big sister was being mean to him, so he couldn’t ride in the same car as her.
And did he mention that he didn’t feel good?
When none of that worked, and I started to get frustrated as the minutes ticked by, his anger increased. As I was making the kids lunches in the kitchen, I heard a thud followed by a scream. As I quickly turned around, I saw my daughter slumping to the ground crying and my son standing over her shouting, “that’s what you get!”
My five year old son had punched my eight year old daughter right in the stomach, and then stood over her like a thug looking for money.
As I rushed in to address the situation I couldn’t help but think- where did I go wrong? What kind of mother must I be for my son to behave this way? As I tried to console my daughter and discipline my son, all while trying to hold back my own tears, I couldn’t help but feel like a failure as a parent.
It shouldn’t be this hard.
After I finally dropped my kids off and made it to work, I texted my husband to fill him in on how our morning had gone. We had been discussing me taking the kids out for a special movie date over the weekend, but after all of the tantrums I was thinking about canceling. Then my husband made a comment that stopped my thought process in its tracks.
“Maybe that’s exactly what they need though”, he said.
And he was right.
This time of year my job keeps me extremely busy, and after a few late nights I tend to get very worn down. Emotionally and physically. I find myself skipping family dinners, missing bedtimes, or not being mentally present even when I am physically there.
In the morning I am so concerned with getting to work on time that I failed to notice why my son was acting out.
He just wanted more time with his Momma.
Sometimes, even when life is crazy, we need to slow down and make time for the little things. The stress of the season I am going through at work was overshadowing my daily life at home, and it was effecting my kids. This time of year is supposed to be filled with joy and magic for them, and my absence was causing them stress. How can I expect them to be filled with patience and understanding for my life when I am not doing the same for them?
So today I want to share with you what I am learning and trying to implement in my life.
There will always be times of stress and work that we need to get done, but don’t let that take priority over what is really important. Don’t be like me, and let it take over your life. Don’t allow it to make others feel like they don’t matter. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you forget to show the people you love how much they matter. Don’t spend so much time working, that you spend less time snuggling your babies. Don’t miss out on Christmas traditions or making memories with your family.
Stop for a minute and remember what it is that has true meaning for you in your life, and make that your priority. Everything else will work out in the end.
So this weekend I am making time to take each of my kids to the movies, out to eat, and shopping for some last minute gifts. One on one time is so important to them, that if seeing Frozen 2 twice this weekend is what it takes, then that is what I will do.
Because this is time I will never get back. This is the only Christmas that I will have an eight year old daughter and afive year old son. I will never again have these moments with them, and I don’t want to look back at this time and remember the tantrums and tears because I spent my time ignoring their cries for attention.
I want to look back on this season, and remeber the beautiful laughter of our time together as a family.