Boy Was I Grouchy!

Boy was I grouchy yesterday. Maybe it was the lack of sleep from too many early mornings and late nights in a row. Or perhaps it was the new scales that registered 4.8 pounds heavier than the old ones. Or still working on getting Christmas decorations down and not being able to fit them all back in the storage place the way they fit before. Menopause is always a handy excuse, but I hesitate to use that one because then I feel like it makes me (and women) sound weak. Perhaps it was watching a teaching video that was very good in exposing my failures, but didn’t spend enough time teaching me how to rise above them. Or it could have been being reminded (by myself) of how I talk about needing to exercise, but rarely actually do it. Probably it was more an accumulation of these things plus feeling like my Saturday was coming undone.

My husband asked, “did I do something wrong?” “Are you mad at me?” I answered, “You’ve done everything wrong, but you’ve done nothing wrong.” He didn’t get it.

I used to love Saturdays. The kids were home after being school all week, my husband was home after working, he and I would go out early and grocery shop, come home and fix a big breakfast, and then we’d get some stuff done and generally goof off all day. It doesn’t work like that anymore. It seems more and more the schedules take us in different directions, no one ever seems to get their chores done without much nagging and threatening, and the day slips through my fingers.

Perhaps the real problem is that my family is growing up and I am startlingly aware that my time with the kids is growing short. I have limited time to make them the productive, effective citizens of this society and committed, grounded Christians in the Kingdom of God. Wait a minute, make? The real issue is my need to make my kids anything. That’s not for me to do. It is my place to guide, direct, and provide safe boundaries and perimeters. It is true that how I raise them has great impact on how they think and act and who they become. But in the end, the decision of who they are, is truly up to them. That’s hard as a mom to accept.

Sometimes grouchiness comes from hormones, sometimes from circumstances, but sometimes it’s from the denial of how things are. I don’t know which one it was yesterday, maybe all of them combined. I hope next time (and I know there will be a next time) I can step back and see what’s going on. It’s time for me to realize as a parent that I have to do the best I can, but if the kids grow up not taking the trash out or cleaning their rooms or practicing their instrument without nagging – they’ll have to deal with those issues on their own. It’s time to realize my own boundaries.

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