With all the "perfect" parenting days we get to experience, there are also those less than stellar ones where you find yourself driving around the neighborhood aimlessly, sipping hot tea and eating chocolate and praying your tired, cranky children fall asleep soon in their car seats. You pray for sanity and grace and just a few moments to at least go to the bathroom by yourself.
Today was one of those. Nothing really major was "off," it was just one of those days that started off with whiny-ness and bad attitudes and kept escalating. It's even worse when we have no real plans for the day other than our morning school time. I could feel my chest getting tighter and the frustration starting to build.
Mid-morning, Norah slept for a hot 30 minutes and wanted nothing to do with napping after that, and her two top front teeth have just cut through so she's gnawing on everything in sight and wants to be held every waking minute, which I love doing, but sometimes you need a break. When I was able to slip away by myself to the bathroom for a few minutes, I returned to see Norah inside an Amazon box on the dining room floor, chewing on a My Little Pony covered in Sharpie. Luci Belle was trying to play an educational computer game that kept getting stuck and was repeatedly yelling my name. Our dog was walking around nonchalantly with a Q-tip and a big ball of my hair in her mouth. No kidding.
Around 12:30pm, I was running out of steam and attempted a universal nap time for all three of us, but was met with major 4-year-old resistance, "But I don't know HOW to take a nap," she whined. Norah kept crawling on my face to pull herself up on the bedpost.
After that, I was barely holding it together. My face was so contorted that Luci Belle actually asked me, "Why does your face look like that?" And I answered something lame about how she was being mean to me. She was quiet for a moment and then just came over and hugged me. Then I was able to look her in the eye, be the adult, and apologize for my terrible attitude. We were able to talk calmly about how it feels when we're rude and disrespectful to each other. I believe my children need to see that I'm not perfect, and they need to see me ask for forgiveness. And Lord knows, they see it a lot around here.
So, time to get out of the house.
In lieu of nap time, we packed up the car and went to Urban Acres Farmstead to see Daddy and to get Mommy some adult interaction.
I finally ended up driving around the neighborhood drinking tea and eating chocolate hoping they would both fall asleep for much needed naps, and they did. Looking like a deer in the headlights, I made it back to our house, parked in the driveway, and settled in to read for a few quiet moments. Always have a book in your bag. Trust me.
Exhaling, I sat in my driveway thinking about how much I need grace when I've been ugly and reluctant to serve my family on days like these. I'm thankful for fresh starts, for small breaks to pause and recharge, and for one of the greatest truths I know - "His mercies are new every morning."
And all the mamas said, "Amen."