Getting Out the Door without Running over My Children
There we are again, all buckled in and driving down the road. I’m at the wheel. My two girls are behind me strapped in their car seats. The music playing on my Christian radio station is uplifting, but my heart–it’s heavy. I’m weighed down by my own actions, not five minutes before.
Getting ready and out the door is a chore, as any mom of littles will tell you. No matter how much extra time you allot yourself, it’s never enough. It seems those last 10 minutes before leaving are pure and utter chaos.
It never fails. Somebody poops right as I step out the door. Did I get the paci? Oops, I forgot to water the dog.
It’s enough to drive someone mad–at least if that someone is me.
I like to think I am a good mother. But I know for a fact I have one motherly flaw that protrudes like a plank from my eye–I lack patience.
At no time is this flaw more evident than when my girls and I are trying to get out the door to go somewhere.
The problem is, I’m an “arrive on time” kind of girl. Or at least I used to be. Now, with two kids, I rarely reach my destination on time, but the drive to do so still pushes me to run over any obstacles in my path. And let’s face it–those obstacles are often my children.
Today my four-year-old, finally strapped down behind her five-point-harness, asked me, crying in the back seat, “Why are you being so mean to us?” I was buzzing down the road, my eye on the prize of my destination, but in that moment my heart stopped, and I knew I was in the wrong.
At the next stop sign, I turned around, looked her straight in the eyes and asked her to please forgive me. She said she did, as she always does, and we kept on driving. But my heart couldn’t move on because I knew the truth–this wasn’t the first time this had happened. In my determination to get out the door and to wherever we’re headed, I tend to plow over those I love. (I know my husband’s been in the line of fire plenty of times too!) The fact is, my actions show that I place more value on the opinion of whoever is waiting for us than on that of my own family.
I decided right then and there that enough was enough. I don’t want my children to remember their mother always in a hurry or always about to burst from frustration. I want them to remember examples of patience and love.
Lord, please help me remember the power of my words and attitudes on my children’s hearts. And in those moments of frustration, help me reflect on your word and remember that my character is more important than them perfectly meeting my expectations.
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
“A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.”
Oh my goodness…this is so me! I was just telling my son yesterday that I think the reason I get so stressed by being late is because I used to be a flight attendant (10 years ago) and that if I was late for work I could lose my job. Although my boys are 11 and 9 now, I still find some of my weakest moments are when I am under pressure to be somewhere……..and we simply can not get out the door in time. Just yesterday I was driving like a crazy person trying to get to the library by 11:30 when a science class was beginning. God forbid I would be one minute late. There are way too many times to count that I am yelling as I am closing the door of our house behind me….all the while pleading…Please don’t let anyone be walking by now that will hear me. Thank you for your honest post. Such a perfect reminder to remember what is truly important!
Shannan, it is so nice to hear that I’m not alone! 🙂 Thanks for your honesty as well, and let’s make an agreement to both do better!
Ahhh Kelcie…recognizing your “uglies” is certainly a sign that you are allowing God to mold you. Your post is refreshingly honest and a great encouragement to us all! Children are so very forgiving and you’ll see, they will remember the sweet over the sour…just keep loving well, hearing God’s voice and humbly submitting! Big Big Hug!
Thank you for your encouragement, Tracey! I am going to keep trying! 🙂
I am so guilty of this. Every morning at our house includes me running around like a crazy woman, someone getting yelled at, and someone in tears. Then we get in the car and I end up feeling like the worst mom in the world. My kids always forgive me as well, but I wish I didn’t act in a way that requires their forgiveness.
My father’s philosophy was, “If you’re on time, you’re 15 minutes late.” I’m the fifth out of six kids and he, not my mother, made sure our family was never late. He wasn’t mean, he just let us all know that this was our family standard.
So true! I remember this one time my daughter told me I was grumbly grouchy. It’s so hard to keep my attitude calm and peaceful when we left the house without someone’s underwear (it’s happened more times than you can imagine). Or a big huge mess exploded right before we go somewhere. Or painted the dog with yogurt…
As my kids have aged we’ve switched from diaper/undies emergencies to “I can’t find that specific shoe that is the only shoe I have ever loved and it’s the only one that fits.”
I think, in the end, it’s a lesson for me in grace. And it’s also the reason I have natural gray highlights…
Hang in there, sweet mom. What will leave an impression on your kids are the times you were humble enough to apologize and model servant leadership.
I have struggled with this myself, more so lately. I stayed home with my son for a year and a half and went back to work full time 5 months ago. It never seems to matter how much earlier I rise, how much I prepare the night before, the last 10 minutes before we walk out will be a mad dash! I got so frustrated just today as we tried to get out to church (which seems to be even worse) and I yelled at him. He stopped in his tracks, turned his face up to me and literally looked shocked…and hurt. I don’t want him to remember me that way either. I stopped, hugged him, and apologized. And I know I have to do better. Thank you for sharing this.