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Do you ever find yourself barking at your kids, “Hurry up! Get moving! Let’s go!!”?
Say we’re late getting out the house and we’re running around like maniacs to hurry everyone out the door. Are we really saving time? How critical is it, exactly, that we save ourselves maybe a couple minutes by rushing?
What I’ve found is when I rush, I end up:
- Running into things (often hurting myself)
- Spilling things (slows me down)
- Getting irritable with my husband (ugh)
- Snapping at my daughter, although she has done and is doing nothing wrong (double ugh)
I hate when I rush because I feel anxious, my stomach gets upset, and my body pretty much goes into panic mode in my hurry to get out the door. I don’t want this to be how my daughter views her mother, nor do I want this to be what she believes to be the status quo. I don’t want her to end up constantly running around, rushed and anxious.
One of the best lessons I’ve learned as a parent is to plan in buffer time. Even before we had kids, I’d ask my husband to give me a departure time 15 minutes earlier than when we actually have to leave. This extra time prevents us from constantly hurrying from one destination to the next, too often running late to gatherings and appointments. We add a solid 15-30 minutes of cushion time to just about everything we plan as a family.
Having this time completely changes the flow of our day. We can relax and breathe. We can enjoy getting ready and heading out the door. We can talk or sing in the car without worrying how late we’ll be. We can fully focus on loving on each other.
If you haven’t already implemented something like this into your family’s routine, I encourage you to give it a shot this week. Then come back and comment below on how things went!
I never thought it would happen to me. I knew better. I was careful. I’d NEVER let that happen.
And then it happened.
I had my hand on my son. I turned to put the diaper in the diaper pail. In the blink of an eye, he flipped out of my grasp and hit the floor.
It was the loudest noise I’ve ever heard.
“SHIT!” I exclaimed.
My Charles began screaming and I fell to the floor to pick him up.
I had never heard this cry before.
I held him in my arms, terrified.
My husband rushed into the room. He didn’t say a word, and neither did I.
I stood up and began walking with Charles, my head spinning. I didn’t know if he was hurt. All I knew was that I had never heard that cry before. I thought I’ll offer him the rest of his bottle and see if that calms him down. Then maybe we’ll know if he’s injured or just upset.
Charles sucked the rest of the bottle down. I stood still, holding my breath. Then he started screaming again.
Maybe if I walk with him outside it’ll distract him and he’ll calm down.
I began walking down the street, his screams growing louder and louder as they echoed throughout the neighborhood.
I was halfway to my aunt’s house when I decided to have her check him out. She’s a nurse practitioner and I thought heck, it can’t hurt. She checked for any obvious injuries and found none. We left her house and began walking back to mine.
As we walked, I sobbed, “I can’t believe it. I’m one of those f***ing moms who let her kid fall off the f***ing changing table.” I had sworn that would never be me.
As we approached my house, my aunt recommended we take Charles to the nearby Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Emergency Room. She speculated that since he was inconsolable, there was probably something wrong other than a bump on the head.
We entered my house and I told my husband that Charles needed to go to the ER. My aunt stayed with our daughter, and Jeremy and I headed out.
On the way, Charles kept dozing off (he was way past his naptime) but all I could remember was being told, “if your kid hits their head, you need to keep them up for at least 2 hours.” So I kept nudging Charles to keep him awake. Every time I did, he began wailing again. It was awful.
We got to the hospital, got checked in, went into triage, and were taken to a room. We were asked at least 5 times in our visit what happened. Over and over I had to repeat my answer to their questions, “He fell off the changing table…about 3 feet…hard wood floor…he cried right away…he didn’t vomit…”
I felt awful, but also relieved to know what the problem was. They wrapped him up, immobilizing his arm to reduce pain.
By this point, I had finally let go of (most of) the guilt and could fully focus on caring for my son. Now, looking back at it, I was making it all about me. Me me me. I’m a bad mom. I can’t believe I let this happen. I am a despicable human being.
The doctor then asked us to feed Charles. As long as he kept it down, they would discharge us.
The nurse brought Charles an adorably soft and snuggly frog. Charles had calmed down and was now, of course, all smiles. He grinned at everyone that came in the room. They all commented on how adorable he was.
As Jeremy and I drove home, Charles smiled at me and then dozed off.
Will he harbor ill feelings towards me?
Will he know that I love him unconditionally?
The whirlwind that was those 4 hours (sure seemed longer than that!) made me extremely thankful. Thankful for family. Thankful for excellent medical personnel and technology. Thankful for my husband, who forgave me much more quickly than I forgave myself. Thankful to God.
I can still hear the sound of my child hitting the floor. The screams that followed. I’ll never forget it.
I know this is just the beginning. I’m sure there will be many accidents/injuries I will blame myself for. But if I learned anything from this experience, it’s this:
We’re human. Life happens. To all of us. We make mistakes. Things go wrong despite our best intentions.
We can’t spend our lives blaming ourselves for everything bad that happens to our kids.
Blaming ourselves goes hand-in-hand with self-pity. Neither is healthy. Neither is productive.
We have to let it go.
What was a time when you blamed yourself for something that happened to your child? Have you forgiven yourself? Share your experience in the comment section below.
A woman I met recently discussed something that hit me as incredibly profound:
“Don’t let anything or anyone rob you of your joy.”
As much as I talk about joy and living with joy despite challenging circumstances (and I’m pretty sure I’ve already heard someone say this woman’s exact words), her words spoke deep into my soul.
I’ve carried those words with me since.
I cannot allow circumstances or people to rob me of the joy I have in the Lord.
As mamas (heck, as humans), we’re going to experience a LOT of challenges in our lives. However, we can CHOOSE to not let them rob us of our joy.
Your kids will scream…don’t let them rob you of your joy.
You will scream…don’t let it rob you of your joy.
Your kids will cry…don’t let them rob you of your joy.
You will cry…don’t let it rob you of your joy.
There will always be dirty laundry…don’t let it rob you of your joy.
There will always be dirty dishes…don’t let it rob you of your joy.
The floor will never be clean for more than 10 minutes…don’t let it rob you of your joy.
You and your husband will disagree…don’t let it rob you of your joy.
The car will break down…don’t let it rob you of your joy.
You will be late to things…don’t let it rob you of your joy.
Work will kick your rear end…don’t let it rob you of your joy.
You and your family members will get sick at the most inconvenient times…don’t let it rob you of your joy.
_______________ (fill in the blank)…don’t let it rob you of your joy.
I think you get my point.
As you go about the next few days (and even longer after that), make it a habit to say to yourself, “I’m not going to let this rob me of my joy” when something challenging or frustrating happens.
Even if you’ve had the worst day you can possibly imagine, tell yourself, “I’m not going to let this rob me of my joy.”
Even if tragedy strikes, tell yourself, “I’m not going to let this rob me of my joy.”
One thing I do to keep people or things from robbing me of my joy is to smile even when I don’t feel like it.
Joy isn’t just something that comes out of nowhere. It’s a fire that burns deep within our souls. We must protect it. We cannot let anything or anyone smother the flames.
What comes to mind when you think of something that tends to rob you of your joy? Share in the comments below, then tell us what you can do to keep it from robbing you of your joy.