The Day I Sat At My Kitchen Table

The day I sat at my kitchen table and cried...

The day I screamed at my kids because they brought a pile of red dirt inside and dumped it all over the carpet...after being told countless times not to bring dirt inside...after they had drained a container of ice coffee all over the floor...after they had pulled their closet door off the track, again...after they dumped the soap out, again...all before 9 am.

The day I hit my limit and I screamed at my kids.

The day I sat at my kitchen table, feeling waves of guilt, anger, remorse, and despair pound me into the ground.

The day I said to my husband on the phone, in a moment of utter frustration, "I can't do this {take care of the kids} anymore; I don't want to do this anymore." {Yes, I am the same person who recently wrote about the devastation of miscarriage.}

The day I realized that just because I cognitively understand the developmental limitations of a 3 and 4 year old doesn't mean that I can handle them emotionally.

The day I realized that just because I know a fair amount about what these little people need - they need to be heard, they need empathy, they need good boundaries and guidelines, and they need me to be patient with them - doesn't mean that I'm always {or even often} capable of doing those things.

The day I realized, while crying at my kitchen table, that I don't want or need other moms to assuage my feelings of inadequacy or guilt by telling me that I'm enough and that I'm doing the best that I can, because I just need to feel these awful things and let them be my guide.

The day I realized that if I actually shared these thoughts out loud with other moms, I might risk being judged by people who might think to themselves, I love my kids so much, I can't even fathom screaming at them or not wanting to be with them. And to think, she's a therapist. My goodness. I might also risk having people attempt to make me feel better by encouraging me and telling me that I'm ok, that it happens, that I'm not a bad mom.

I would receive the I'm not a bad mom part, but the reality is, I made a bad choice. I lost my cool, I mean I REALLY lost my cool and I screamed at my kids. Thankfully, my kids are resilient as they {after a string of very tearful moments} are now off in their rooms, happily zooming their cars to and fro. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here at my kitchen table crying, still angry, still feeling guilty, still sad, still a hot mess.

I think I need to acknowledge my anger and my sadness and feel them until they run their course. And I need to feel that guilt, because guilt tells us what we have done wrong, different from shame which tells us we are wrong. I need to feel like a mess for a little while because this parenting thing is messy, really really messy.

The day I sat at my kitchen table and stared at the photos hanging on the wall of my two beautiful, curious, impressionable children and the deep, deep love I have for them washed over me.

The day that I sat and wondered how and why my anger boils up so easily and seems to momentarily silence the love I have for my kids.

The day I sat at my table and knew that I was wrong; knew I was broken; knew I was so very imperfect; knew I felt sorry; knew I was forgiven; knew I was loved.

The day that I apologized to my kids and they apologized to me.

The day I thought, thank goodness that His mercies are new every morning, that while growth is painful it is good, and God's not finished with me yet.

This is the day that I sat at my kitchen table and cried. And the tears were good and hard and cleansing.