Things go wrong at the most inopportune time. Why is it that, when days are extra busy, it’s on those days that everything bad happens? Those are the days when the kids move extra slowly or they put up a fight or somebody spills a whole gallon of milk on the floor, causing it to splatter up the cupboards and appliances. (True story, unfortunately.)
One reason I like homeschooling is that I should theoretically have more down time with my kids. Maybe it’s just a very, very long phase that I’m going through right now, but life is so busy. Because it’s busy, I tell me kids to hurry. A lot.
I have been really convicted lately about how much I tell my kids to hurry up.
Yes, I know I need to build more margin time into my schedule. Like, I shouldn’t expect the kids to be able to get ready to leave the house in a mere two minutes (or less). Right?
My husband once e-mailed an article to me about people who are chronically late. (I think it was supposed to be a subtle hint about my habits.) The article indicated that one reason people are late is because they are optimistic about how much time it will take to get someplace. They remember the one time, three years ago, that they got to X-place in 12 minutes, and that’s how much time they think it takes to get there. In reality, they should allow at least 15 or 20 minutes for the drive.
I am that person. I am always optimistic about how long it should take to get out the door, and then drive someplace, and then I end up hurrying my kids. I am guilty!
But why do I delay leaving? Because I am b-u-s-y. There’s so much school work and house work to be done. I am always trying to get one more thing done at the house before I leave!
I accept the fact that I am busy, but I don’t want to be frenetic. I write to-do lists and to-do sub lists. I set the alarm for dark o’clock. I say “no” as much as I can, when things don’t align with my goals and priorities. But no matter how hard I try, I am still very busy and often a little on the overwhelmed side. So I feel this need to rush.
And even though I want to be the Calm Mom, I say “hurry, hurry” on a frequent basis.
But here’s the back side of that. I also say “wait” a lot. When I am engrossed in something on the computer or trying to finish a chore that I think is very important, I always expect my kids to wait on me.
So, basically, they have to wait on me, but I shouldn’t have to wait on them. It’s all about me! They rush for me, they wait for me. It’s my prerogative.
In a broad sense, this might be generally okay, because God made me their mom and I’m in charge of our schedule and home management and they need to obey.
On the other hand, all of this makes me realize I need to examine my own heart. I need to weed out my selfish expectations. I need to empathize more. I need to be more patient with my kids!
It’s true that my kids do need to wait on me to finish dinner sometimes before I help them get the play doh from the top shelf. It’s true that my kids need to stop slacking and put on their shoes so we can get groceries before it’s too late.
But I also need to make sure that my expectations are realistic and I am not being selfish or unloving.
I have diagnosed a problem—I say “hurry” and “wait” a lot. I’m still trying to find the answers.
I pray for grace to understand how to balance life while joyfully and patiently interacting with my kids, even on days when I am crying over a gallon of spilled milk!