I've been so good for so long. Almost 3 months. I haven't yelled at my kids at all for almost three months. I haven't been speaking in a permanently saccharine-sweet voice, but I have been in control of my tone of voice. Our home has been a happier, calmer place where the Holy Spirit has been able to be present.
But then I slipped up.
Two of the children were playing in the living room. When these two are together they can go very quickly from happily playing to fighting. On this day, child One accidentally hit child Two in the face with a toy. One quickly apologized. But Two didn't hear over the sounds of it's own screaming and exaggerated crying as it hit One with a balloon in retaliation.
I like to let them try to figure things out on their own, but it was clear this time that I needed to step in. I told them both to sit down and began talking to Two about the situation. Two refused to listen to what I had to say and kept defending itself, talking over me, being rude, etc. Very typical for this child.
I finally told Two to go to a different room. If Two is not ready to listen to me in matters of discipline, then Two just needs to go to the bedroom and give us both space to calm down before we can talk with more level heads.
On this day, I let Two push me too far. This child refused to leave the room. I was frustrated and sick of not being able to get a word in edgewise without the arguing and backtalk. So I chose to command the situation and screamed, "GOOD BYE!"
That scared Two enough to shut it's mouth and leave. But then I felt horrible. All that divine help I have had! The miracle I had received! I felt like I had been walking on a clear path in a beautiful meadow but then suddenly decided to jump onto the dark, twisting, rocky, dangerous path to the left.
Thankfully after a couple minutes both of us were calmer and had a really good discussion. We both did some repenting. And then we both felt better.
This ended up being a good learning opportunity for the both of us. Two learned that Mommy is willing to admit when I screw up, and that I'm trying to be better. I learned, again, that I need to continue to rely on my Heavenly Father and on my Savior Jesus Christ daily. Hourly! I need His guidance to know how best to parent, teach, and discipline each of my children. I need His grace as I try to exercise greater faith and patience. And I need His Atonement because unlike Him, I am not perfect! If I sincerely repent He makes it possible for me to walk once again in that beautiful meadow toward His kingdom.