Dear Mom, I’m not judging your tantrum

I think it’s possible that the best writing topics are the ones that bear a sense of deja vu.

The ones you’re fairly certain you’ve written about before, perhaps several times.  Those are the ones we need to keep processing and pursuing because clearly there’s something there.

So along those lines… mothering is tough.  And I think so often we feel judged by well, everyone really.

We feel judged by the people at the table next to us in the restaurant.
We feel judged because of the noise coming from our cart at the grocery store.
We feel judged because we’re just so crabby sometimes in public and doing a poor job at portraying the ethereal mom-gasm we’re supposed to be embodying.

The other day Kel and I decided to screw the budget and take our two lovely little ones out for breakfast at Holland’s The Biscuit before we ran new-house related errands.

I regretted this decision within the first minute we were in the door.  Caedmon threw two tantrums before we were seated and two more before the waitress arrived.

When I picked him up for a time out and some stern words he slapped me in the face and I swear to you, everyone saw it.  I promise that I heard the restaurant gasp in some sort communal oh “Oh snap!” and “What now, Mom?”

I was sure they saw me as a terrible mother with out of control children. I was so embarrassed that I wanted to melt into a puddle on the floor.  Surely they were all wondering why we brought our tantrum-y son out for breakfast to ruin their dining experience.

tatrum These are the moments of parenting that suck the strength from your soul and send you wondering if 11:00 A.M. is too early for a glass of wine… and does wondering this mean you’re an alcoholic?

But, with every terrible grocery shopping trip and taxing dining experience I’m coming to realize that most people are giving me grace when my children and their tantrums hijack my sanity.  Either that or they just don’t care.

Most people around you have been there before, the other Moms regard you with sympathy and the older ones just remember it with nostalgic fondness … somehow.   Continue reading

My Meltdown

This afternoon I had a meltdown, I couldn’t even tell you why really.  I just remember losing all perspective and weeping my way home from preschool pickup.  So dramatic, so embarrassing.

For some reason I just couldn’t see the hope or the good, most of all in myself.

I was determined to figure out what caused my meltdown so I did what any normal person would do and had a good ol’ fashioned spider web brainstorming session on my chalkboard.

I’ve seen my children have meltdowns and I’ve had them myself.  The meltdown has a common thread, it’s a combination of a lack of perspective and a lack of understanding and above all a perceived hurt.

When I tell my kids that they can’t have another scone from the top of the fridge or yet another new bouncy ball at WalMart they get angry and lash out at me.  They don’t understand why I’m saying no.  I know that they’ll get sick from too much sugar and that we already have upwards of 10 balls at home, but they see me as a fun stealing tyrant.   These sort of meltdowns look ridiculous to me because I’m more mature than they are, I know what’s best, but their little world is legitimately melting and it hurts.

If a more mature person were to bear witness to my meltdown this afternoon, so riddled with self doubt and empty of faith, they would see it as I see my children’s fits, silly and needless.  But in my little world, I was hurting.

God is so faithfully growing and tending to my heart, how often I feel that strength and stability!  But, once in a while, on days like today, I plant my feet in toddler-like resistance and have an epic meltdown.

And after the kicking and the tears subside God is still standing there, shaking his head and reminding me of the truth.  Whispering who I am in him and untangling all the lies I’ve tied myself up in.

It’s so easy to let the meltdowns define us as crazy or incapable, but we have to remember that the bad days will come, they just will.  I will never cease being human and asking for another portion of grace from God and my family.

I’ve cried a thousand times today, my heart so tender.  My daughter ran up to me with concern, plying me with questions in her pure childlike desire to take away my pain.

She threw a tantrum over a scone and I threw one because I don’t believe I can live the life I’m called to.

I had grace for her tantrum and she had compassion for mine.  I’m the 30 year old parent and she’s the almost three year old little girl.  We both struggle and cry, we both stand in deep need of grace, and we both love each other within a relationship that cannot be severed.

And in that moment I wonder how I missed it, how I lost sight of it, and I pray with all that I am that God strengthens my soul so that I keep his truth and beauty forever in my minds eye.

My grace instructor who looks way too cute in a hat.