Last night I slept terribly. I had a bad dream, cats were in heat outside my window, I tossed and turned. Around 6 I tossed aside my bad dream and finally settled into some solid sleep only to have J-Man whisper, "I went pee pee in my bed." I sent him to the bathroom to use the potty and get out of his soiled clothes.
The boys share a bedroom now so I quietly tip toed into E's sleeping space to grab a pair of clean underwear. There were no clean pajama pants because I haven't been able to make it over to our apartment complex's laundry room yet this week, and this my friends, is where the story turns.
I brought J-Man the underwear and told him to put it on and get back in bed. He asked for pajama pants and I quietly explained there weren't any clean ones but we'd get him tucked in under his covers and he'd be fine.
Oh no, you didn't, Mother. His fists started pounding the floor and he started crying. Afraid he'd wake up E, I decided it wasn't worth sticking to my guns on this one and it might be worth caving a bit to his fit. So I ran back into the bedroom and grabbed a long-sleeved pajama shirt.
"I don't want a shirt! I want pajama pants!" Now he's yelling and having a full blown fit and I'm starting to get really frustrated and mad because a.) I'm TIRED and b.) E was tired all day yesterday and, so help me, I'm not dealing with that again because brother had to wake him up with a pajama pant fit!
Here's about where I start using the term "freakin" like it's going out of style...to my 4-year-old. (That is not a euphemism, I really did use that exact term!...a lot.)
Inspiration strikes and I realize there's a bag of clothes the boys have grown out of sitting in my room. There are pajama pants in there! Clean pajama pants. I grab a pair.
But I'm tired and I'm mad and so I can't just let it go and hand him the pants sweetly, right? No, I have to rub it in to him. "Here! Have some baby pants!" I tell him. Way to go, Laurel.
"NO!!! These are baby pants! I want big boy pants!!!!"
I whisk him into the bathroom and close the door so at least there's some separation between the fit and sleeping brother. I hand him the shirt and the "baby" pants and tell him he can choose one or both, but put something on and get back in bed! Fit escalates.
I try the walk-away approach and walk out of the bathroom leaving him to ruminate on his choices. I sit on my bed and gulp in some deep breaths trying to calm myself down because I'm way too angry right now.
"Mommy! MOMMY!!! Don't leave me in here! MOMMY!!!"
This isn't going to work.
Post deep breathing, I'm ready to handle this with poise and dignity so I re-enter the bathroom and calmly apologize for getting so mad and remind him of his two choices.
This does not work. At all.
Then I notice the bag of dirty laundry sitting in the bathroom, and I dig through for some dirty pajama pants. "Or you can wear these."
"NO!!! Those are dirty! I don't want dirty pants!"
"There are no clean pajama pants. There's nothing I can do about it right now. These are your options."
Finally I get him to choose and he opts for dirty pajama pants (he is NOT putting on those baby pajama pants, thank you very much!) and the clean pajama shirt.
But by now I'm all flustered again and so I lead him out of the bathroom telling him he better be "freakin quiet." Sigh.
I put him in my bed hoping to hang on to a sliver of hope that E might still be sleeping. I lay on the couch in the living room and try not to cry as I ponder how much better I could have handled that situation and why did I get so mad and why did I say "freakin" so many times to my 4-year-old?
I stayed in a crummy mood until Daddy got home later this morning and I got to wash away the morning in a nice hot shower. And then I realized God had already forgiven me because I had apologized and I believe He always forgives me. J-Man had forgiven me when I apologized later and he was totally over it by now. But me...I hadn't forgiven myself. So in the shower, I whispered, "I forgive you" to myself and that, so simple, made a world of difference.
I realized that most of the time that I am walking around with guilt or shame, I'm the only one who hasn't forgiven me.
"The small woman
Builds cages for everyone
While the sage,
Who has to duck her head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
I've read this poem the last couple of days and it's been convicting me about forgiving people and setting them free from guilt. It's been speaking to me about letting go. But maybe I'm one of the prisoners, too. And I need to drop myself a key every now and then.
So, mothers, when you fail today, before you start diving into the see of mom guilt, FORGIVE YOURSELF! Come out of that cage.