Yesterday, I sent my son to school in tears. So much for “Mother of the Year” award. At 7:30, he realized that he did not have his school book. He had not returned it to his backpack after reading it and now it is missing. While helping him search for the book, I found a pair of his dirty socks under the chair cushion, another pair beside the recliner, his cup by the couch and tripped on his pair of shoes by the door. His bedroom floor is littered with his belongings.

Clearly, he has difficulty picking up after his 10-year-old self. It is one of the ugly traits he picked up from his mother.

Yes, me. And instead of addressing the heart of the matter, I blew my self-righteous temper.

Driving to school, we prayed that his day would go better but I had to include a nice preachy bit about responsibility. After kissing his tear-streaked face goodbye, I drove home and fell back into bed. “Ok, Jesus, I blew it. Yes, there need to be consequences for his irresponsibility but you did not give me this beautiful boy to ridicule or degrade. I am supposed to b a steward not a scoffer. And I am sooooo guilty of the very issue that frustrates me. Forgive me and give me wisdom in helping him learn responsibility and repair the damage I have done.” Nice prayer, but it did not erase the irresponsible words that had flown from my mouth. Those I can never take back. So I walked out of my room and finding my toddler into mischief, I blew it again.

How do I rescue a day that seems headed for destruction before 9 am? First by admitting, again, that I cannot mother on my own. I need Supernatural Help. I need to continually pray for God’s guidance in teaching and loving my children. And praying out loud in front of my children for patience and wisdom models dependence on His help. I need to admit I’m wrong and ask for forgiveness, even from a 2-year-old. I need to invest extra time in restoring my relationship with my children. Finally, I need to show myself grace. I’m going to make poor decisions. But I can choose to learn from my mistakes and grow or continue to berate myself.

After apologizing to my toddler, I called my girlfriend for back-up. Laura cared for my little ones while I took my ten-year-old son on a lunch date. “Mom, why are you checking me out of school early?” “To remind you how much I love you, Son. I am so sorry for losing my temper with you this morning. Can you forgive me?” I saved the discussion on responsibility for another day and focused on the smart funny young man God blessed me with.