They don't happen often.
You know, those days.
Those days that I regret getting out of bed all day long.
They are rare, but when they hit me, ugh...it's bad.
I knew today was going to be a bad day.
But then, I'm sure that my negative attitude from the beginning definitely influenced it also.
But all in all, today was one of those days.
Baby woke up four times in the night, for no apparent reason.
For some reason (he's always been this way), he does not like me to rock him to sleep. Only once in a blue moon. For the most part, it's a big struggle for me to get him back to sleep. However, if Hubby gives it a shot, he's out like a light in seconds. Baby adores his daddy, but man oh man, it really makes it tough on Mommy when he wants comforting and love, but not from me.
Last night was just like that, but Hubby worked super late, getting home around 3am and even then, he had to be up and leaving again before 9am, so I didn't dare wake him and ask him to help.
So Baby and I spent quite a bit of time together last night struggling and fighting with each other; him wanting someone to hold him, me not being the right someone. It was exhausting. His last wake up call was around 4:15 this morning. This one went on for an hour before it woke up Son, who I quickly ushered back to bed.
Baby finally gave it up to slumber around 5:40 at which point I scrambled back to bed, knowing that my minutes were few.
Sure as the sun rising, Son caught a glimmer of pre-dawn light before he fell back asleep and came in my room around ten to six. I told him to go back to bed or go read books quietly. He did and I snapped my eyes shut again. I caught a light shining under Daughter's door right before I tempted sleep again and decided to ignore it. Nevertheless, she prances out around 6:15, dressed and blinds open, hair brushed and a pretty little smile on her face. I could have lost it. She went downstairs to watch TV, but Son heard her and also went running downstairs. Although they tried to be quiet, it just wasn't enough and no more than two minutes later, Baby was back awake and pointing to the door, wanting to join his brother and sister. I went and got him and took him downstairs to the early morning sounds of first thing sibling rivalry. I sat down on the couch and Daughter complained that since it was still not very light she couldn't see her coloring page. OH.EM.GEE.
That was flip-out moment one of the day. I told them that they were up way too early, and that it was probably not going to be a great day.
From that very minute, Daughter turned into a cry-baby, Son was screeching about anything and everything and Baby was just plain grumpy. Not to mention I was in a pretty foul mood myself.
The rest of the day was just a jumbled mess of launched food, doors left open to welcome the flies, toys chucked at one another, hitting, screaming, taking blankets, whining for snacks upon snacks, poop smeared into carpets and ink stamps all over our beige couch.
Right about now, I expect that you are pitying me: poor sleep-deprived momma, hormone crazed, no help and a trio of wild and reckless kids who were out of control all day. Sure, I'd love to just sit back and take all the sweet comments, the poor you's, the we've all been there's. But honestly, I can't.
Because as awful as the day was, I did absolutely nothing to make it better. I yelled, I lost my cool in front of my kids, I guilted them, I ignored their requests to play. I prayed in my head, for help and for the chaos to stop, but it was always half-hearted and easily interrupted. I never gathered my kids on my lap and pulled out our devotional. I never held their hands and called for prayer time together. I never took them on a walk to cool off. In my defense, it was kinda hot. But still, you know what I mean. And you know what kept ringing in my head...the same thing over and over, like someone was in there shouting it at me...
Really, it's just messes. It's just stamp ink, it cleans up. Is this really enough to make you lose control? Man, the enemy is having a hay day with you today. Seriously, you're losing composure over sibling bickering?! And stamps? And a little poop on the carpet?
Yeah. I knew I was out of control. I knew I was wrong. I knew I was making a bigger deal out of all this than necessary. And I knew I was making it worse. And blaming it on my kids. At one point I heard them in Daughter's room saying they wished Daddy were home. My heart broke. Well, it started to. Then I told myself that they weren't the only ones that wished he were home. I threw myself a pity party and walked away from my kids, hurting and sad.
I wrote the above last night, right before dinner. I'm writing this Sunday morning. I stopped last night to make and serve dinner and we had a lovely meal together. My kids pointed out that I wasn't grumpy anymore and that they were ready to be sweet. I was starting to feel much better, we sat and read three books together and then cleaned up toys before heading upstairs to take a bath. And the whole time, through dinner and stories, I kept asking myself why I had been so ill-tempered all day over such little inconveniences.
When we got upstairs, Daughter opened the door to my room and I headed into our bathroom to get the tub ready. I noticed that the cabinet under Hubby's sink was open and quite a few things looked like they were missing. The child lock had been broken off. I asked who did it (assuming Son, my mischievous one) and Son was quick to deny being involved. He seemed very sincere and I was a little confused. Daughter also said she didn't do it and she said that Son did. Then she ran over to Hubby's side of the bed and shouted that Daddy was going to be so mad. I went over and looked and gasped. I was shocked at what I saw.
There were bottles strewn all over the floor and nightstand and our bed and hubby's drawers were covered in a cocktail of shaving cream, talcum powder, lotion, Vaseline, mouthwash, rubbing alcohol and more. It was a disaster. Soaked all the way through blankets, pillows and deep into the mattress. The clothes in hubby's drawers were soaked and soiled. The bottles were empty all over the floor and there was Vaseline smeared all over the table and lamp.
I asked who was responsible and Son said he did not do it and Daughter said that Son did do it and she heard him. I asked when and if she saw him doing it and she said during nap time and that she did see him. I asked why she hadn't come and told me and then pointed out that I knew he was sleeping, I had checked on him. She remained adamant that he had done it, but the when started to change a bit and Son was just standing there crying absolutely insisting he did not. Finally I got it out of Daughter that she did it an hr or so earlier when I had sent her to her room for hitting her brother.
I sat down and started crying. I was so overwhelmed with the entire day. And I had just started to feel like it was getting better. Now, just a few minutes before we needed to get cleaned up for bed and Hubby would be getting home shortly thereafter, this. This catastrophe of a mess. The four loads of laundry that sat waiting, covered in Vaseline and shaving cream. The soaked mattress that reeked of rubbing alcohol and would not be clean or dry for Hubby and I to sleep on tonight. The amount of wasted product that I hadn't planned on purchasing for quite a while. The possible stains on my white bedspread and skirt. Would the mattress come all the way clean? Would it be ruined? But one of the biggest things was the lying. Why did she lie about it so? She told me she did it because it was fun and that she blamed Son because she didn't want to get in trouble. What five year old does this? I expect this from my toddler and preschooler, not my kindergartner who rarely gets in trouble for anything more than a snippy little attitude.
Here's what she used:
3 1 liter bottles of mouthwash
1 large bottle of rubbing alcohol
1 container of talcum powder
1 bottle of pet shampoo
2 bottles of body wash
2 cans of shaving cream
1 jar of Vaseline
1 tube diaper ointment
1 bottle of baby lotion
1 bottle of corn huskers lotion
1 bottle of regular lotion
1 deodorant smeared
1 box of 500 q-tips
1 container of witch hazel pads
2 bottles of cologne spritzed down about halfway
10 boxes of matches
1 container of salt
I sent her to bed and got to work cleaning up. Hubby got home soon after and we cleaned together. We slept on the floor downstairs last night. I stayed up much later than I would have liked washing and folding all of Hubby's socks, underwear and shirts so that he'd have clothes for work today.
And then I laid awake, on the floor, thinking. Thinking about the no good, very bad, terrible, awful day. Remembering each and every bad thing that happened and also remembering that I had not tried to turn to God even once. My children learned a terrible lesson yesterday. They learned that when things are tough, out of control, just not going smoothly, to scream and yell, to cry, to throw fits, to be grumpy and not do anything to change it. They asked me multiple times yesterday if we could stop being grumpy and have a good day. Know what I said? I told them no. I told them I was too tired to do that. That I was too frustrated.
I was right. I had every ingredient there for a bad day, a breakdown. Hormones, exhaustion, no help, crazy kids, messes and disasters. But I also had the key to a solution. The way to turn it around, to teach my kids valuable lessons. I had the Creator of the Universe at my beckoning call. Yet, I never beckoned. I never called. I folded my arms and pouted and proclaimed for all to see and hear that I was having a bad day. That nothing was going to change that. And then, at every turn of the day I kept wondering why nothing was changing. Why the day just kept getting worse.
I should have listened more closely. When I told my kids I was too tired, I should have left it at that. I am too tired. God, I need your strength. Instead I said, I am too tired. We're going to have a bad day.
I decided our fate yesterday before anyone even had a chance. When God sent His still small voice to urge me to lean on Him, I shouted over it. I stomped my feet and threw my fists in the air.
So now what?
Well, yesterday is just that. Yesterday. It's gone.
So today, I vow to run to God when I'm feeling frustrated.
To beg for His strength when I know I can't take anymore.
To plead for His spirit to fill me when I'm grumpy.
To pray that He would live in me when I am too tired.
To remember that it's just stuff.
It's just a mess.
It's just sibling bickering.
It's just an attitude.
It's all temporary and not eternal.
But that each of these times, these moments when I just want to bury my head in the sand provide an opportunity. If I pull my head out and look up, I will see that there is a chance for a lesson in each of these difficult and trying moments. I can teach my children how to respond to situations the way Jesus wants us to. When my children are being unlovable, I can show them how Jesus loves them, by trying to love them the same. I always love my kids, but when I'm yelling at them, blaming them for my grumpy attitude and losing my cool, do I really think that their little 1, 3 and 5 year old brains are comprehending that as love? Or that their little hearts are feeling my love? I doubt it. And how can they ever learn about or see Jesus' love in me, if I am not even showing them my own?
So today I vow to do things differently.
I'm sure I will be tested. I'm sure the enemy will find my weak spot again. But I won't let him have this day. Nope. He got yesterday. And that is unfortunate. But, today is the day that the Lord has made, how can I NOT rejoice and be glad? How can I not teach my children to be thankful and joyful in all things? How can I not show them where my help and strength comes from, if only I ask?
And I will.
Thank you Jesus for new days.
That you love me no matter what and I never feel it waver.
That you have more mercies, more grace for me each moment.
That I can't use it all up.
That you don't ever choose yourself over me.
That I never worry that I cannot call on you, for you might be having some "Jesus time."
That you are always there,
always putting my needs first.
Help me to be the same mother to my kids as the Father you are to me.
Quiet my voice so that I only hear yours.
Calm my spirit so I feel yours.
Close my own eyes so that I only look with yours.
Purify my heart so that I can only love with yours.
I have failed miserably God.
Thank you for forgiving me.
For giving me more chances than I can count.
Thank you that there is nothing I can do to lose your love.
Help me Jesus.
On a lighter note, our bed from last night is making a great spot to watch a movie this morning ;)