Just a few weeks ago, my good friend and author of “Moms In Need of Mercy” wrote a great blog about finding patients in difficult parenting moments. The article was inspiring and packed full of great parenting tips and advice. So, what did I do when my patience was tested this week? Let’s just say that those great parenting tips were not utilized properly!
Early that day, I had caught my two-year-old trying to put a metal hair barrette into an electrical outlet! That afternoon I noticed something strange smeared all over the dog’s back. It was something white – dried into a crusty coating. We have a Bichon Frise, so the mess was not very noticeable on her white fur, which made me wonder how long ago this had happened. I remembered my daughter washing something off her hands in the sink earlier that day – telling me it was soap. Could she have painted our dog? What did she use? I was not pleased as I searched the house for a mess of paint, a cleaning product, or whatever it might be. Finally, she came to me with an almost-empty tube of doggy toothpaste. I was thankful that there was no big mess and that it wasn’t paint! And so we gave the dog a bath.
That evening, as I was looking for a quick dinner solution, my two-year-old began climbing in the refrigerator – trying to help. After asking her a couple of times to stay out of the fridge, she climbed in once again, and this time dumped orange juice all over, coating every drawer, shelf, and everything on them with a sticky, orange coating. So, I punished her and sent her to her room so she could stay out of trouble while I cleaned up the mess. As I cleaned, I started to feel bad about punishing her when she was just trying to help. About then, I heard a noise behind me. I turned to see that she had not only come out of her room and back downstairs but had climbed on top of her little table and was pushing the buttons on my cell phone! This was the parenting moment in which a good parent might say a quick prayer or count to ten. I didn’t do either…and I neglected to use every bit my friend’s good advice.
I yelled some sort of lecture, and demanded that she get back in her room “Right Now”! After I had calmed down, and she was back in her room, it occurred to me – if she was playing with my cell phone she could have called someone! How embarrassing would that be – for someone I know to hear me having a bad-parenting moment. What would the other MOPS moms think of that? What if the voicemail at my husband’s office had picked up! People might start to think that I’m not the Nicest Mom on the Block after all!
So, with humility and regret, I looked at the outgoing calls on my phone. Indeed, she had made a call. It was to my cousin, fellow MOPS mom – my table leader. Thankfully, as a fellow mom, she understood (hopefully giggled but we were corresponding over email so I can’t be sure) and said that she knew it wasn’t an intentional phone call when she heard “go to your room” being yelled in the background. So, there it was. I had failed to use my good-parenting skills and was being held accountable for my actions. It wasn’t my husband’s co-workers, but I wouldn’t want for anyone to hear me parent like that! My goodness, what if she had called my friend at Moms In Need of Mercy? I would be the topic of her next blog for sure – “A Mom Greatly In Need of Mercy”.
So, I begin the process of self-reflection, and have to smile in awe of the creative ways God answers prayer. After all, I was the one who asked Him to help me be a better mom!