We all have those things about us that we wish were different. Mine is this: I yell at my kids sometimes.
I hate it. I wish I didn’t do it. I wish I could snap my fingers and I would never, ever raise my voice at them again. I wish I could just say one simple prayer and the “quiet and gentle spirit” that I so long for would just magically attach itself to my tongue. But alas – the yelling stems from other things that take time and daily repentance to deal with. (Lack of patience, unrealistic expectations, and control issues are some of the “things” come to mind.)
So most of the time I can reign in my yelling tendencies. But one activity gets me every time: COOKING TOGETHER
My kids love to help me cook.
I do not enjoy my kids helping me cook. There. I said it. I DO NOT ENJOY IT. It’s one of those activities that moms and children are supposed to enjoy together – featured in magazine spreads, commercials, and mommy blogs across the globe. Moms and their children with cute streaks of flour across their noses, laughing and having a grand ol’ time.
The cooking together. It never ends well in our house. Someone gets mad because she didn’t get to dump the brownie mix in the mixing bowl. Nevermind that she got to crack the egg. One gets mad because he didn’t get to pour the milk. Nevermind that he gets to be the first one to stir. Soon someone is crying because they wanted to pour the batter into the baking dish. Nevermind that they should all just be grateful we are making brownies! Not crying about every little thing! This is supposed to be fun! Now out of the kitchen and I’ll finish by myself!
So obviously….it’s not really “cooking together” that triggers my frustration. Cooking together just happens to be an activity in which all my insecurities as a mom are tested and put on display.
I feel insecure when my kids whine, or are ungrateful, because I know those are two behaviors I haven’t been very good at correcting. And honestly, we can generally get through our days without much whining or complaining (My kid really are great kids! I promise!) – so when an activity like this brings it out, it makes me feel out of control.
I get stressed when they are all whining and complaining, because it’s so obvious to me that they should be having fun. Instead of stopping, taking time to deal with each of them individually, and giving them a chance to correct their behavior – it’s easier for me to just send them all to their rooms. Away from me and away from each other.
I get upset when I think they should be grateful and instead they are ungrateful. In hindsight I think, “I should have just calmly put all the ingredients away, and explained we could try to make brownies again another day, when everyone could chose to have a pleasant and cooperative attitude.” But in the moment I get flustered and frustrated and just send them all away in anger. Then in my guilt over yelling at them, I usually go ahead and let them eat a brownie. Dumb.
So I’m praying for wisdom. Wisdom to know how to consistently and lovingly correct whining and ungratefulness in my children. Wisdom to chose a better path than yelling and separation. And I’m thanking the Lord that my children are very, very forgiving. Because sometimes I also yell at them when I’ve told them to put on their shoes and socks and it’s time to get in the van and we are going to be late and they are still sitting and playing with toys and have no shoes or socks on their feet and I feel like my head might explode. The end.
Many thanks to my friend Allison for linking to this article from her facebook page!