Thursday, December 17, 2009
Those of you who know me well know that I am very organized, to the point of obsession. Some could consider it a gift, but sometimes it can be a real handicap when you just can not relax unless the floors are swept or the kitchen counters wiped. But this is just who I am, and I thrive and find peace in order, usually...
However, I have had a few episodes though with my children lately where this personality trait has not brought out the best in me. On a few occasions (though not TOO many as I am usually calm and mild-mannered with my children) I have lost my temper over the loss of order in my life. Just this past week, when I was busy doing morning chores, making beds and gathering dirty laundry, my children were peacefully playing together in the playroom. Or so I thought. When I walked into the playroom, I saw that my son had dumped all of the bins of toys into a great big pile. All the blocks, matchbox cars, play food, trucks, tractors, and dress-up clothes were now in a huge heap on the floor. Let me add also that we needed to get out the door to go to the dentist in about 10 minutes. Instead of reacting calmly or just letting it go and cleaning the mess up after we got home, I yelled loudly, really loudly, not at my son, just into the air out of frustration. Then I went to sit on the couch and put my hands over my eyes, and my son came over to me and said it will be OK.
That whole day and the days that followed, the guilt at losing my temper had been eating away at me. I wish I didn't care so much about a little mess, it didn't seem like any reason to scream or show such intense frustration and anger. Even if it had been, is that really a reason to behave like that? I tell my children all day how to behave with good manners and show restraint, and here I was acting out like a toddler.
A few days later, my son didn't get his way at a store we were at, and his reaction was just to yell really loudly out of frustration. Sound familiar? I impressed myself with my calm in the store by just taking my kids and leaving. However, once we got into the car after listening to his tantrum and carrying him kicking and screaming to the car in the parking lot (did I mention I am eight months pregnant?), I lost my temper again and yelled at him out of frustration. He was so sad that his beloved mommy was so angry when he was just mimicking my behavior. Again I was consumed with guilt.
That day I decided I couldn't keep screaming like this and losing my temper when something did not go right. My son and I had a talk the next day where I told him one of the things I would give him for Christmas was to not yell anymore. His face lit up at this and he said with the sweetness of a child, that that was a good idea, that we would just "throw the yelling away." "Throw it up into the air to Mary and Joseph and Jesus in Heaven."
Could it really be that simple? To ask for the Holy Family's help. Maybe it was. Today when he didn't get to the potty in time, I was presented with a big mess to clean up. There was no frustration or anger, just calm. I told him it was no big deal, and I would clean it up for him. He said he was so happy that I didn't yell, that he was "happy I threw the yelling up to Mary and Joseph and Jesus."
I guess in a way with all my prayers to Mary, the gentle mother, for her intercession to help me be a gentler mother that I kind of did "throw the yelling up to her in Heaven." And she caught it and put it away where I hope I'll never find it again.