Some days it is crystal clear to that I can get out the door and be kind. They are not mutually exclusive. Some days kindness and keeping the relationship with my children intact is an elusive, abstract ideal.
Being a naturally quick tempered individual, mothering practices that are gentle are something that has not come easily. But success comes with diligence, and any success I experience in being the mom I want to be has taken prayer, diligence and grace. So, if you are a yeller or quick tempered or rather impatient, here are some things I do on the good days.
I shoot for 75% success rate in my mothering ideals. It would be discouraging if I set my sights at 100%. There is no perfect mother.
- I give myself lots of lead time to get the kids in the car. Like twenty minutes before I should be driving out the driveway, I am getting people to put shoes and coats on and gather their stuff to get in the car.
- I like to be prompt. But I have to spend some time discerning (usually in the moment of getting ready to go somewhere) which things “prompt” matters for and which things “prompt” does not matter for. It’s unlikely that God will, at my particular judgement, mention my promptness as one of the overriding reasons I got to heaven.
- If I am starting to wind up, I have to remember to breathe. I actually forget to breathe. It’s really dumb. I’m excited or worried or in a hurry. When my adrenalin is running high. So sometimes I get quite light-headed and sometimes I even faint and Sparky catches me. But in the moment of breathing, I can also gather my thoughts.
- I like to pray three Hail Marys if I’m starting to get cranky. It puts everything in perspective.
- Make sure the laundry is done. Seriously. Nothing generates chaos quicker than having to look for clothes.
- Eat something nutritious. I forget to breathe. And I forget to eat. Also causes light-headedness.
I will think of some other stuff, but I am going to post this while it is still Thursday.