I was talking to my mom on the phone Monday afternoon after having worked Sunday night.
"I hate myself today!" I told her truthfully. "I am the meanest Mommy in the world! I have absolutely no patience, I am yelling way too much, ..."
"You're not mean," she broke in. "You're tired. There is a big difference! You know that! And I think that if you explain it to your kids, they'll understand, too."
"Well, maybe," I replied half-heartedly. "But I sure feel mean."
She was right, of course. I was exhausted, with a migraine that no amount of ibuprofen or caffeine was able to help. But that was no excuse for my terrible behavior and short temperedness, so I gathered my babies close to me and loved on each one of them, apologizing for my grumpiness and asking their forgiveness. The day did get better (and not surprisingly, so did my headache), but I still felt sick at heart when I thought of how out-of-control I had allowed the morning to become. I couldn't escape the memory of their tears or wounded expressions. They had happily rebounded, but I just couldn't shake the feeling that I had failed them--particularly in light of my recent Lenten resolution.
Darren and I talked about it and prayed together for a long time last night after all the kids were asleep. And when we finally went to bed, I felt much better, more at peace, than I have in a very long time. I woke up this morning feeling so rejuvenated and optimistic about life, motherhood, homeschooling, and so in love with my dear husband and precious children.
Overcome with gratitude this morning, I said to my kids, "I am so, so lucky to have been given all three of you kids--exactly you!--just exactly the way you are. To have been given such gifts, God must surely love me very, very much."
"And us," Dylan responded. "And Daddy, too."
I know that I'm not a failure. I'm just an imperfect mother doing her best to, with the help of God's grace, perfectly love the incredible family with which she's been blessed.