Monday, May 24, 2010

Beating Mommy-Guilt

This post is more for me than for you, but you are welcome to eavesdrop...

One of our rules as parents is that when it comes to discipline we punish deliberate disobedience and re-teach rules for all other offenses. I learned this in Grad School. I practiced it as a Kindergarten teacher. Yet, I just slipped.

Granted, its been a long day...

My baby girl is teething and has been crabby all day. And we just returned home from an out of state trip where we had to drive 6 hours each way, which turns into at least 8 hours when you have two under 2.

Earlier, while I was tending to a potty training accident with my son, my baby girl reached over the table and knocked down one of the ceramic planters I just bought and painted for her birthday centerpiece. Now it is more like center-pieces.

Then, I served my 2 year old lunch while I nursed. He took a few bites here and there but was totally distracted. My phone beeped, so I went to read my text message. When I returned to the table, he had reached over to the glitter and dumped it out on the table.

In an abrupt response, I got him off the table and made him go take a nap because he was playing with his food and now he had made a huge mess.

Now, I am alone, both kids sleeping and remorse is creeping up. He was just being 2. Who wouldn't want to explore glitter when it is within arms reach?! He has no idea why I suddenly made him go to bed. He was not intentionally trying to upset me.

My own rule - broken.

Instead of teaching him the proper way to use glitter, I snapped.

It's a good thing I know about grace. Assuredly, I am still a great mom. And I guarantee you , I'm getting some sweet snuggles when he wakes up. He won't even remember what happened. If he remembers, he will soon forget. I need to do the same.

You see, parenthood is more about love than perfection. I will mess up. I will do things wrong even when I know how to do them right. That is why it's important for me to pray, be patient, and resist the urge to react.

I am working on that one.

As a mommy, I am so wired to take care of everything. To respond. To react. Seldom do I have the luxury of taking my time. But I must be slow to react when it comes to discipline.

I believe discipline is a teaching process. We teach them directly about proper behavior such as how to use glitter. But we also teach them indirect lessons, such as what to do when you are upset (make the other person go to bed?).

Break out the duster. Time to dust off the incident, shake it off, and move on. If I torment myself by replaying it in my mind, I would be guilt-ridden and even less capable to be a good mom. I've got to forgive myself and learn from the experience.

That is what I'm doing...right after I find some chocolate.


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