I find myself apologizing a lot now that I’m a mom.
Probably because God made me a mom without including the necessary patience to go along with it.
How can I even get mad at these faces?! (Trust me, it’s possible.)
Take the other day, for example.
Clara decided to ‘help’ me with lunch, which involved her carrying the toaster (leaving a trail of crumbs) to the couch as I was trying to nurse Isabelle. I sent her away but once I heard silverware drawers opening and closing I cut Isabelle’s lunch short and went in to see what Clara had gotten into. Thankfully, it was nothing that could harm her. I put Isabelle down and went to work making a breakfast sandwich (an English muffin with egg and cheese), and of course Isabelle picks that moment to start screaming. Then Clara pulled the half-finished sandwich off the counter and shredded cheese went everywhere. Then I got mad at her (at this point, I was hangry, too!) and of course handled the situation super well like the awesome mom that I want to be…
No I didn’t. I basically pulled her away from the counter and told her to stop helping. Of course, this caused her to start screaming.
A great mom moment, right?!
And then to top it off I was trying to pour her milk and somehow dropped the cup and that went everywhere and so there was milk on the floor, cheese on the floor, Clara was screaming, and Isabelle was still wailing in the background. Ozzie was quite happily feasting on the floor lunch, though, so at least one of us was happy.
Well, right away I realized that I needed to apologize because I recognized that Clara really wanted to help and I realized that the day had simply gotten the best of me at that point, causing me to react badly.
I told Clara that I love that she wants to help me and that I originally thought she had meant to spill the cheese (she does love throwing food on the floor), but I realized that she probably just wanted to help me move her plate to the table and that’s awesome.
As soon as I apologized we hugged and the whole dramatic event was over.
(Well, Isabelle was still yelling in the background, but that was solved with a pacifier and necessitated no apologies from me.)
The point is this, being a mom before naptime is hard and I can use a little grace by lunchtime. By the time Clara starts demanding lunch, I am worn out. I am tired of cleaning mini-potties and packing diaper bags and changing babies’ outfits and diapers. I am tired of telling Ozzie not to bark. I am out of energy because I’ve neglected to eat properly myself. My back is sore from hauling around a baby and from pushing a stroller-for-two that no longer easily maneuvers as the smaller stroller had. I am tired of the whining and the screaming and of telling Clara she cannot hold her sister and she cannot hit her sister and she can spin in circles but not near her sister. I am tired of pushing swings and breastfeeding and telling my toddler that she needs to wear shoes. And then putting those shoes on only to watch her take them right off and run around the park barefoot.
All of this (and more) happens before noon! So it’s no wonder I may lose the patience I never had and react a little more harshly than my fictional, ideal mom role model would act.
But being a mom has also allowed me to recognize my flaws and practice apologizing immediately. I’m getting pretty good at it, too.
And then I extend grace to Clara and Clara extends grace to me (so easy to do for toddlers!) and I extend grace to myself and we all move on to naptime, which is no cakewalk, either.
At that point, finally, I’m occasionally rewarded with some silence and food to refuel so I can be a better mom in the afternoon. And then it starts all over again.
Motherhood is hard, guys. Grace and forgiveness are necessary.