“Get out of this office!” I lashed at my children just yesterday. “Go to your rooms! I do not want to see you, or hear you, or be near you right now, do you understand?!” I had tried to maintain my composure, to be kind and mature even while their two straight hours of bickering pounded at my head like a hammer. But then I snapped…I reached my limit, the thin layer of resolve separating feelings from ideals split down the middle allowing anger to flow unimpeded.
“I wish it could be like before,” whispered my oldest child, “like earlier when you were happy.”
“Look Elijah,” I fumed. “I have had it with the fighting! It makes me sick, sometimes, how you treat each other!”
“How about,” he suggested, “I sit right here quietly until you can calm down, and when you’re ready, we can go back to being like old times.”
And suddenly I was aware of how I looked to my kids: wild-eyed, evil, and monstrous.
Just when I think I have it all down, I am humiliated by a lack of self-control. My lasting impression, echoing down the hallway with empty threats, verifies not that certain behavior is unacceptable, but rather that mom is crazy. It is naïve to imagine I would never give way to the stress of being pulled in five directions. It is understandable, I daresay, to lose patience when sleep is scarce and demands are high. But to sweep it under the rug, to move on without apologizing for unloading adult issues on my children, does a grave disservice to our relationship. It undermines the values I try to teach them by example.
I am sorry my little ones. Let us try again tomorrow to be respectful of each other, and sincere in our efforts to love, to learn, and to grow.