Yeah that. That’s no fun.
I’m an analyst, and by my very nature, I’m strategic in how I act towards my 2 year-old Samuel. When he’s behaving a certain way, I’m looking for the causes, knowing that sometimes the cause is HE’S TWO. 😉 When I teach him something or show him how to do something, I’m already thinking of the next level so that when he’s ready for it, I can build from the way I’m teaching him now.
I’m not tooting my horn about this; it’s probably quite annoying to anyone watching, and maybe to Sammy too! Haha! It’s just how I’m wired and how I approach being a mommy.
But sometime lately, all of that pre-planning broke down. I found myself angrily yelling when my son had a poopoo accident. He cried. I was just focused on containing the mess and didn’t think about what I had just done.
At that moment, Brad and I were leaving to go out of town. When I got back in town, guess what happened? My son, who had potty trained just fine, all of a sudden would not even step foot in the bathroom with me. He had potty accidents for an entire day because he was alone with me and – I imagine – scared that I would get mad at him.
It hit me halfway through the day that I must have scared him away from the potty with my negative reaction, and I wanted to convince myself that it was just that one situation, but I couldn’t. I realized that my frustration at the pottying had been escalating, and he was having accidents almost exclusively with me.
Doesn’t that just make me sound like mom of the year?
The day all of this hit me was a very emotional day. I felt so terrible that I had reacted so rashly and let emotion enter a very sensitive space – a naked, vulnerable, learning space. I made sure not to push Samuel to potty at all, and I coaxed him into the bathroom – just to change clothes – so that he would see that I wasn’t mad at him.
I apologized to him, but he didn’t seem to understand. Thankfully, kids are just SO forgiving anyway. And over the next few days, with a completely different perspective, and a return to CANDY FOR POTTYING :), Samuel seems to trust me again.
I truly hope I remember this moment. Because what if I do the same thing to my children when they’re trying to learn their multiplication tables, or when they have a sin pattern in their life, or when they just aren’t meeting my expectations in some way? How much more damaging will that be?
I’m grateful that God gives us grace 100% of the time, and I want to be a parent that models grace and mercy for my children.
Would you share a time where you succeeded in giving grace or mercy – even when it was hard?