The common thread.
Yesterday was the type of day I would refer to as a Donna Reed day. The kids were well behaved, everyone ate breakfast and cleared their plates at dinner Curtis and AJ even fought about who would get to take the leftovers for lunch! Anthony did well at school, chores were done, Jack peed on the toilet (and not on the wall) several times and I just felt like I had it all pretty well pulled together. I even got to spend a lot of time with my bestie, we celebrated good news, did a little late night kid free grocery shopping (hey, moms know that kid free grocery shopping is better sliced bread!) and Curtis had an excellent class with his men’s group at church. All in all, a winning day!
Then there’s days like today. Days where by 9 am I feel like it’s taking every bit of my energy to not scream my head off at everyone in my house. Days when I have already said no to requests for chocolate chips, bunny crackers and ice cream 827 times, BEFORE breakfast. Days where everything feels like a major production or personal insult. (Why would Curtis feel the need to smother the eggs I made him in ketchup and how dare he not get out a plate for me?!?) Days where I think everyone around me is a problem.
Guess what. They aren’t. When I take a step back and look at all of the things that are “wrong” with my day: I am annoyed because Curtis keeps trying to talk to me while I read, I am frustrated because Jack won’t sit and eat so I can finish my breakfast, I am bitter because no one emptied the dishwasher for me before leaving for work or school, there’s one common thread in all of this.
I am the problem with my day. Yes, Jack is asking for every snack in the house for breakfast, he’s 2. Why wouldn’t he ask for them. When I finally stopped being lazy and did some parenting, giving him a consequence for not sitting and eating, guess what, he sat and ate. Should I put my phone down and stop reading an article for 3 minutes so that I can have a conversation with my husband before he gets into his car and drives off on a rain soaked morning to go to work? Is he worth my time? YES. Is it fair to expect that my chores get done by anyone else? Well, what would I say to AJ if he came home and said it wasn’t fair that I didn’t bring in the trash cans for him today? I’d tell him that’s his responsibility, and to suck it up and get it done.
As Curtis and I work on our marriage together and on ourselves separately, I am seeing little changes in his behavior. He never leaves the house without telling me he loves me, or giving me a kiss. He is generally happier and less grumpy. He’s improving his follow through with the kids and trying to spend more time doing things with AJ and less time playing video games. He’s trying. Is he perfect? Of course not. Are there still plenty of things to work on? um, yes. Am I being appreciative of the things he is doing? Not nearly enough.
As you know, I go all in on everything, and am NOT an incredibly patient person. Noticing gradual change is really hard for me. I want big change, 10 pounds gone in a week, entire house spotless, all of the Christmas lights up in one day with color coordinated synchronized blinking to match the music playing through the sound system. So as I found myself storming around the kitchen, just being mad, 3 things happened. Jack took a bite of his eggs and said “SO good Mommy! Thank you!” Curtis came back in to the kitchen to tell Jack to be a good boy for me and to tell us just one more time that he loved us and my bestie sent a text talking about how she was having a grateful day and that she had just thanked God for several things, including me.
So I stopped. I stopped being mad, and feeling entitled and bitchy. I looked at my family (well AJ is at school, but I thought about him) and realized I am being the problem and I need to notice them. Notice how wonderful they are. Be grateful for the friends and people in my life. And thank God for giving them all to me.
So even if today is an epic disaster, and Jack won’t eat anything that doesn’t come in a foil bag and Curtis comes home late and AJ doesn’t get his work done, and I don’t get to spend as much time as I want with my bestie, and I don’t get to visit with my parents; even if all of that goes awry, I am going to try and breathe and notice these amazing people in my life.
Then be thankful for them all.