I was Mean Ogre Mom yesterday. She makes an appearance occasionally, and yesterday her fangs were out.
The kids and I were snowed in, work and school having both been cancelled due to the icy road conditions. I stayed annoyed with the kids most of the morning. They were too loud, too rowdy, too altogether childish. I was trying to make the best use of my unscheduled off day to get things done around the house, and frankly they were in my way. Making more messes in the wake of all my cleaning efforts.
A couple times they needed my help or my approval or my acknowledgment, but I just waved them off with a martyred sigh and instructions to please entertain themselves so I could work.
Lauryn finally busied herself in her room, and the boys bundled up to go play outside in the snow. They escaped out the door after repeated stern warnings from me to not track in mud or leave their wet clothes lying around or make any other messes. (I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want to stay in the house with their loving mother.)
When Lauryn finally emerged from her room, she came bearing gifts:
Not only a sweet note, but a necklace as well. (Strung backwards because she lines up the word, then strings it on in that order. Precious.)
A gift so undeserved. It changed my attitude and behavior. It helped me remember to enjoy my children instead of barely tolerate them.
It was a good lesson for me, in a weird way, about parenting. Her sweet gesture made me stop and take a breath, re-evaluate my attitude and interactions, and wipe the grimace off my face. If she would have come to me with a scowl and told me that I was being a big meanie of a mommy and needed to shape up, our interaction would not have gone nearly so nicely, and definitely would not have resulted in an improved attitude.
I imagine the kid are much like me. They’d much rather be treasured and loved sweetly, even if undeserved, than continually scolded and shooshed and corrected, even if their behavior warrants it.
Finding the balance is why I need the Holy Spirit and His wisdom. Knowing when to lovingly correct (that key aspect of “lovingly” was missing entirely yesterday) and when to lavish unmerited grace is beyond my ability on my own.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him. James 1:5