I don't know if it's from lack of sleep, stress from our financial situation, or if I'm just feeding off of the crazy little monkeys that I hang out with all day, but lately, the amount of time it takes me to get from awake to losing it is alarmingly short. (And no, before you suggest it, coffee doesn't seem to do the trick.)
Sometimes, I really worry about what these moments of insanity are doing to my kids. When I completely lose it, I'm teaching them that behavior. I'm essentially telling them, "When you get really upset about something, all bets are off."
I'm teaching them that when you get really angry, it's OK to go all Hulk on one another.
I might start my day with good intentions, but after answering the same question for the fifteenth time in a ten minute span, the ish usually starts to hit the fan.
There are days when I am able catch myself and pray my temper down, and then there are days when I get angry so fast, I don't even notice my shirt ripping to pieces and my skin turning green.
Besides praying my way through these challenging moments, I've also found that it helps to sit down with my kids and to explain to them why I blew up. We talk about what they did that contributed to me losing it, and after discussing what we all could have done differently, we apologize to one another.
Wait. YOU apologize to your KIDS?
Yes, you read that right. I ask them for forgiveness. I look them in the eyes and ask them to forgive me for letting my temper get out of hand.
It is really important to me that I set a good example for my kids. From the beginning, I knew I didn't want to be one of those "Do as I say, not as I do" kind of parents. If I'm going to expect my child to learn how to control his or her temper, then after 30 years of practice, I can't allow myself to set my bar lower than theirs. If anything, I should expect more from myself. That being said, when I screw up, I let them know it.
I know that some people might disagree with me on this, but in my opinion, allowing myself to be vulnerable with my kids is invaluable to me. It lets them know that we all screw up. We all make mistakes, even Mama, and when we do, we must ask for forgiveness.
The thing is, my kids are smart cookies. If I don't practice what I preach, it's going to bite me in the ass. If I don't show them that even Mama has to ask for forgiveness, then I feel like I am giving them a false sense of what it means to be an adult.
The truth is, I screw up all of the time. Now, I don't want to go around shouting that from the rooftops, but if my kids see me make a mistake, I think that it's good for them to see me try to fix that mistake.
Learning to ask for forgiveness is such an important lesson in life. None of us are immune to making mistakes, and I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want my kids thinking that I can't own up to my own sins. I want them to hear me asking for forgiveness. I want them to see me go to Confession. I want them to know that we are a family, and in this house we do I'm sorrys, and we do LOVE.