Guest-writer: Carolina Jones
My name is Carolina Jones, a work from home mom, with two very young active boys ages two and three. I recently left my career as a Nurse Practitioner in pursuit of becoming the mom I always dreamed to be. I took on a role as an online educator for nurse practitioner students, which allows me to spend every single waking moment with my babies and work while they sleep. It has been amazing but does not come without its challenges.
I have occupied my free time in planning daily activities and learning exercises. I bought alphabet posters to hang in their playroom/classroom, because every 2 year-old needs to know their letters, right? (Sarcasm here) I was “Pinteresting” in my sleep, trying to figure out how I was going to make my tiny humans smarter than any other kid. As I over scheduled and over-planned, my days became long and my patience became nonexistent. I took it out on my children. I became annoyed at the 100th time the word “mama” got yelled from across the room. I was irritated at yet another mess in the kitchen. All these feelings of frustration in turn elicit intense feelings of guilt. So how do I and any other mom that feels this way fix this? How do we stop this cycle of super mom turned empty angry mom?
I most definitely do not have the answer. However, I will share something that has happened to me that has deeply changed my perspective on how I parent. My oldest, age 3, was practicing his numbers, and kept skipping the numbers 3 and 4 and going straight to 8. It was driving me insane. So I snapped at him and told him if he didn’t do them correctly, we’d stop playing. Within a split second I saw his face change, and I could almost hear his little heart break. He became quiet. Pensive. I moved on to another task. Fifteen minutes later, through tears running down his little goldfish stained face he says, “I’m sorry mama.” It was his first time genuinely saying sorry. My soul was crushed. What had I done? Why was I so mean? Why was he asking me for forgiveness, when it should be me begging for it? It was at that moment I realized that I too need to learn to forgive and say I’m sorry.
From a young age we are taught to always forgive others. We are supposed to love our neighbor. We are expected to abide by the “golden rule.” As a mother (like most other moms?), I instinctually keep giving to my children until I have nothing left for myself. My proverbial cup eventually becomes empty. What happens when we’ve given so much that our fuse becomes short? I personally cannot let the daily mundane tasks overshadow the gift I’ve been given. I need to learn to own up to how they are affecting me and apologize to my children. There are moments when one of my sons will do something and immediately apologize. Their apology and beautiful brown eyes staring back at me forces me to slow down, reflect on my reaction, and offer them forgiveness and grace. It has centered me in a way that instead of yelling and allowing myself to get frustrated, I am learning to stay calm and listen to them. After all, isn’t that all they really want?
These days we spend a lot of time cuddling, reading stories, playing, cooking together, random adventures around the city, and learning. No pressure. No schedule filled days. Just the three of us living a life filled with joy. So I encourage you to do the same. Allow yourself to be in the moment, fill your cup when it is empty, forgive yourself more often and always ask for forgiveness from our children. Although we may think we are their teachers, they are in fact teaching us daily but only if we are willing to take in those lessons. Perhaps forgiveness lessons.