Failing at grATTITUDE

So this morning wasn’t the greatest.  It started off with a good night’s sleep and then an extra hour of sleep as I accidentally snoozed several times.  I got up and had a nice quiet time and then edited the video I wanted to post today.  FUN STUFF!

As the boys were eating breakfast I read a really great blog post by a dear friend.  Christie, who writes at “Smiling at Tomorrow” is a fellow Chaplain’s wife and mom to boys.  She wrote about how she’s trying to be intentional in her attitudes, words, and actions so that her boys see her heart of gratitude instead of what so easily comes out during moments of difficulty and frustration.

I was inspired to have a great day and give the boys the best example of gratitude and positivity that I could muster up.

And then 8:05 rolled around and none of the boys were in the living room for our devotion time.  I whistled and said, “You’re five minutes late for devotion.”  I continued to straighten the kitchen and three minutes later, whistled again.  “Boys, you were supposed to be here 8 minutes ago!”

“We heard you!”

Oh, no he didn’t.

Tell me my oldest son did NOT just tell yell at me that he heard me.  That was rude enough.  But tell me, also, that he did  NOT just tell me that he heard me calling for him and yet chose not to come anyway.

Thus began a rough thirty-minute period where two of the boys were angry with me for taking their iPods.  The rule is that they must get their breakfast eaten and chores done by 8.  They wake up at 7 so they have a full hour; no reason to be late.

Today, when H&C weren’t done with their rooms by 8, naturally I took their iPods, which they use mostly to listen to Adventures in Odyssey.  They get one hour a day to play games on them and my taking their iPods is the worst possible discipline I could impart.

As I checked through the chore-list I discovered several of Hayden’s chores he had done half-way.  These are chores that I check daily and with the same level of scrutiny.  Today I was no more strict than I usually am but you would have thought I sprung these expectations on him today without warning and with only 10 minutes to complete them to perfection.

Attitudes went flying and I didn’t follow my friend’s advice.

I even got mad at Matt for not being my backup even though he was behind two closed doors shaving and didn’t know I was in the middle of a battle-of-wills with a toddler preadolescent young man.  As soon as Hayden finished his room I went to check the bathroom, also his responsibility.   I could list the half-dozen things he had neglected to do but the one that bothered me the most was the bright yellow puddle of dried urine that he was supposed to have wiped up.  How in the world he could have considered this chore done was beyond me.  Again, these responsibilities have been his since the beginning of December.  We started MOTH two months ago.  By now I expect almost perfection and what I got today was sheer laziness.  It made me mad.  I used a less-than-sweet voice to express my anger.

Thankfully, I did (barely) regain my composure in the midst of my anger and suggested that tomorrow, when he gets his iPod back, that he set the timer to beep at 7:55, giving himself a five minute warning so that he finishes everything within the allotted time and is in the living room when he’s supposed to be.

We started school and all was going well, until Parker started screaming in pain.  Poor kid had a stomach bug last week that created so much poop no diaper could contain it.  Today, it seems as if his body can’t get it out.  I normally have some mommy-tricks for this kind of thing but nothing has worked.  He fell asleep on me while I sent the boys to work independently for a while…  Parker NEVER falls asleep on anyone.  He loves his bed too much.

While holding him I flipped through this little e-folder I have of blogs I want to read but never get the time.  One caught my eye.  It was titled “Talk About Failure.”

That pretty much summed up my day, so I clicked on it.

By talking about our own failures, we honor the experiences of others, and in the end, that binds us together.  It’s not about wallowing in the failed.  It’s about connecting in the acceptance of our truth.Our failures will unite us as humans, far more than our successes ever will.  ~Lisa Whittle

I encourage you to go read the whole thing.  It really was what I needed today.  After hearing a good word from one of my friends, reminding me to live a life of gratitude in front of my children, I failed.  Then I read another good word from another friend not only giving me permission to fail, but the challenge to share it so that I can be encouraged, but also, encourage others.  One of Lisa’s commenters said something that touched me as well:  The more people speak of their failures, the less others will feel like they ARE their failures.

So, though I don’t ever want to wallow in my failures, I also don’t want to ever give the impression that I have it all together.  I don’t.  I fail and then sometimes I REALLY fail.  But I will continue to try parenting with gratitude and with a good attitude.  (I’m still looking for my mulligan for today.  I just failed once again by getting frustrated at one of the boys for not focusing at his school work.)

I am going to pick up and move on, asking forgiveness from the boys for my short temper, remind that their behavior can set the tone for our day, but that ultimately I am responsible for my own behavior.  Lesson within a lesson.

I am tagging this as MOTH, though it’s more about parenting.  I just wanted all of you who are interested in doing MOTH to realize there are days it doesn’t work perfectly.  Days when the kids are just lazy and push your buttons.  It’s not a sign to quit, but, rather, a sign to retrain, refocus, and remember that there are days we fail.  It just makes us normal.  It just makes us real.

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
This entry was posted in About my faith, brothers/boys, family, homeschooling, MOTH. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Failing at grATTITUDE

  1. Christie says:

    Thank you for your honesty! Both of us have this tendency (unintentional!) to seem like we have it all together. I pray that our transparency will bless others and help all of us see that failure is part of this thing called life; It’s what we do with it that matters. Love ya!

    • Jennifer says:

      Very true! A tendency to “seem like” we have it all together. I think for me it stems from a desire to be positive and to not complain. Especially about the very thing I treasure the most: my family! While I don’t want to ever send the message that I don’t like them, don’t love my job, or don’t appreciate the freedom I have in homeschooling or staying home to raise them, there are hard days. Sharing the hard days and the moments that aren’t polished is important. You are loved, Christie!

  2. Judy Gloy says:

    Oh sweet one! I am so sorry you have had this type of day. I think you have it figured out that no matter who it is, or what is done, NO ONE is exempt from a bad day. I think bad and remember that there were days when I’d get up and – I could tell the moment my feet hit the floor – it was going to be a day where nothing went right. And that included my mood. No reason. Got enough sleep, wasn’t sick, but just “in a muck”. Why? I have no idea. It set the mood for the whole day. When I realized that it seemed to “catch on” with the kids, that they did or said things that were unacceptable and all – like you – it just “lit my fire”. Then when I’d step back and realize that my attitude was less than “lovely”, that just added the bad attitude of the children. It’ so hard and we ALL have bad days. But when I settled down and decided to do something about it (which included disciplining the kids in one form or another), I would take each of them, one by one, and hold ask them to come with me, and we’d go by ourselves, and we’d talk about our day. I would apologize for my bad attitude, anger, and we’d would pray that God would forgive us, and then I would love on them and tell them how much they meant to me and that I couldn’t live without them. Then, we’d talk about what was the matter. Then – when neither of us knew what was the matter (including me), we would talk about when that happens, what can we do when it does happen and let THEM suggest what they would do to fix it. In other words, ask them to help me be a good mom/person so when I have a morning like that, how can we fix it before it gets out of hand? Anyway, most of the time it worked and mainly just hugging and loving on them changed their attitude – AND mine and praying together knowing that God would hear us and listen to us seemed to change everything.

    So, you’re not alone. Don’t beat yourself up. You are as perfect of a Christian mom as anyone could ever be. And those kids are the best. So, just have a cup of coffee and when you get a chance, give them a big hug. Those older boys are getting to be close to the teen years and their hormones change, their growth change and sometimes they just don’t understand themselves why they get crabby and lazy. So, please don’t fret – know you are loved and admired as a mama and person. And keep God right there at your side – don’t you wonder what He wants to do to US when WE have these bad days? LOL. No, I don’t want to know, either!

    Love you.


    • Jennifer says:

      I love your encouragement. Sometimes I think God put you on this earth just to pat me on the back! Then I remember all the “real” people you can actually touch and pat on the back and realize that you’re not just for me! I’m as thankful for you as if you were physically hugging me, though. Please know that!

  3. Jess says:

    girl, I would never make it as a kid in your house, even now that I’m an adult!

  4. Pam M. says:

    Love your post and your willingness to be transparent. I am one of those who think you are the mom with the wonderful, perfect attitudes! I loved the post you quoted about failures joining us together. It DOES help to know we are not our failures and we have someone to relate to and pray for us and give helpful hints. I love you, Jennifer!

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