So the other morning, my youngest daughter decided to completely fall apart about socks.
To say it was a disaster is putting it mildly.
About 5 minutes into the exchange, I realized that I was acting more immature than my 6 year old.
I wasn’t sure how to stop the spiral, so unfortunately….I didn’t. I just went with it…spinning in nauseating circles to the bottom of the pit of momma fail.
And I did it with gusto.
I’ve been thinking about it for days.
What caused me to respond so poorly to my little girl’s sensory issues? I mean, it’s not like they are a surprise.
Okay, well the socks were exactly the same as the ones that were fine the previous day…so that was annoying, but really, she’s 6 and she’s got stuff she’s dealing with…and, honestly, I do too.
But being that I’m approximately 39 years older, wouldn’t it seem like I could hold it together better than her?
I think the issue might be that I simply want things to go my way.
Everyone just do things my way, ok?
And don’t get in my way.
I mean I am the momma after all.
I’m the boss.
But I’d like to be a benevolent dictator!
I think I was more like a really, really mean drill sergeant.
Thankfully I don’t have these meltdowns often, but when they happen they are spectacular. And I don’t mean that in a positive way…
Ugh…Why do they happen again?
Oh yeah…it’s all about me.
I’ve been studying the book of Philippians. Chapter 2 to be exact.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (3-8)
I believe I could read the verse about putting other’s interests above my own and apply it to this situation, but most of the time, I probably put my children ahead of me even when I shouldn’t.
Although I believe I should always put my children’s well-being above my temper tantrums…above my emotions.
My emotional craziness that morning can’t really be justified…even though I was frustrated and nothing was going as I had planned. I had stuff I needed to get done…they needed to get on the bus already!
Truly that seems to be what my life is about right now…getting stuff done.
Getting stuff done even if it means not being patient, kind, or gracious.
Getting stuff done even if it means less sleep…and a fussy momma.
Getting stuff done even if it means no time for relationships.
Getting stuff done even if it means oodles and oodles of stress…for everyone.
Do I really need to get so much stuff done? Yes. I do. But there has to be a way to do it gracefully.
Before I can figure that one out, I want to consider my emotions a bit….just a bit, because as I heard someone say once, “I don’t like the way emotions make me feel.” I’m all over that. (And I have to be honest, I’m not particularly fond of hormones either.)
When my ex- husband left 5 years ago, I wrote in my journal, “Remember it’s not what you feel, it’s what you know.”
That was written when I was feeling completely beaten down and I was trying to remind myself of my identity in Christ. I wanted to be sure to make decisions and act based on what I knew to be true from God’s Word, rather than what I was feeling, especially the feelings based on my husband’s actions.
I think this situation with my daughter was another opportunity to remind myself that my actions must not be based on what I feel, but on what I know to be true.
I know that God has a plan even for my day and if things go awry He can help me handle it.
I know that my little girl needs encouragement, patience, and understanding, not the words I offered her.
I know that my actions impact my daughter and all my other children…that my thoughtless, frustrated words hurt.
I know that I have the Holy Spirit to help me control this blasted tongue.
And, thankfully I know that God forgives me for all my mistakes as a woman and a parent.
The other part of that verse that struck me was the humility of Christ. He was GOD and He willingly took on the form of man to save me. He humbled himself…humbled himself to death.
I need a minute to soak that in…
And I can’t humble myself to speak graciously to my child???
My little girl who wasn’t being disobedient (even though it felt that way), who wasn’t being defiant (even though it felt that way), who wasn’t being difficult on purpose (even though it felt that way)…she was just being a little girl with sensory issues who was completely undone by the toe seam on her socks.
And I was the momma who acted on how I felt, rather than what I knew. I was the one in charge who instead of humbly and gently loving my daughter, chose to wield my big stick and verbally whack everything in sight.
Looking back I can see that if I had responded at first with graciousness, my little girl might have found what she needed sooner and we could have had a peaceful morning. Unfortunately, I decided to disregard some of the other verses in Philippians 2:
Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (14-16)
Oh the grumbling and complaining…oh well…no sense continuing to beat myself up about this.
So I have to tell you after all our sock craziness, as we were heading out the door, my daughter sat down in the foyer and said, “Momma, I don’t think I want to wear socks.” So 45 minutes and 15 pairs of socks later…she went to school without socks.