Can one Katy mom find peace amongst the chaos?
“Mom, Bryan wonâ€™t stay out of my rooooom! Make him leave!â€
â€œMom, Braden pushed meeeee! Ow! Stop it Braden! Youâ€™re hurting me!â€
â€œStop it Bryan! Those are myyyyyy games. You canâ€™t play with them!â€
Did my perfect day really have to start like this? I jumped out of bed and lumbered up the stairs.Â My older two childrenÂ were now in the center of the action pulling the younger two boys away from each other. It reminded me of a boxing ring. Our own little boxing ring. How dreadful!
â€œOK guys. Whatâ€™s going on?â€ I asked in a sleepy voice.
At once, all four children blurted our their individual version of the story. I sat, nodded and listened as if what they were saying was registering. Then, I responded as I always do.
â€œWe are a family. We do not hurt each other. We do not say unkind things to each other. It is a privilege to play with each other. If we canâ€™t be kind, we canâ€™t be together. I want each of you to spend the next half-an-hour in your rooms. Then, we will start this day over. I will decide what we can do today based on your behavior. Now, scoot! Go to your rooms right now!”
With grumbling and mumbling, each child wandered back into his/her room. The next half an hour was quiet and peaceful. I made my bed, straightened the kitchen and made some pancakes. I still maintained high hopes for a glorious day. As the smell of pancakes found it’s way to the bedrooms, I heard childrenâ€™s voices.
â€œCan we come out yet?â€
â€œWeâ€™ll be nice.â€
â€œIâ€™m starving. Can we eat yet?â€
â€œAlright children. You may come to the kitchen to eat now.â€ I responded.
As the children filed into the kitchen, I silently hoped the day would be a good one. We ate in silence for the most part. Pancakes were everyoneâ€™s favorite breakfast, so they ate and ate until they were satisfied. But, tummies full and freedom in their hands, they cleared the dishes and apparently began to focus on what the next argument could be.
Within moments, Melissa hollered, â€œMom, Bryan spilled my new lotion all over the bathroom floor! Bryan that was the best lotion ever! Why did you do that?â€ She lamented.
I paused in my kitchen clean-up to again go upstairs to mitigate. For Melissaâ€™s birthday, I had given her a make-up kit with lip gloss, light eye shadow, finger-nail polish and lotion. Sure enough, her new, fragrant lotion was all over the bathroom floor.
â€œBryan, why did you spill Melissaâ€™s lotion?” I questioned.
â€œI didnâ€™t know it would spill when I squeezed it.â€ He responded innocently.
â€œYou need to clean up the lotion and buy Melissa a new bottle.â€ I stated matter-of-factly.
â€œM-o-m! Why do I need to buy a new one?â€ He complained.
As I began to practice my deep breathing techniques to manage my stress, I attempted to keep my cool. When I lay down on the floor, I think the children noticed that I wasn’t tolerating the bickering very well. Compunction soon spread across each of their faces and they promised to behave better.
The day did turn out to be a good one. No, it was not perfect. We had a few contentious moments, but, we enjoyed each other and when contention reared it’s ugly face, I tried my best to beat it back.
I hope that one day my many ramblings to my children will all sink in and that contention will be completely eliminated. Well, let me be more realistic. I hope that we can at least go for one day without it!
There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained.