This morning one of my children missed the bus. It pulled up, squeaked to a stop, blew the horn, and had me running to the door to just wave them on. Much to my frustration but to the happiness of the long line of cars who would have needed to wait for my kid to get his shoes and jacket on.
You know what? We are now 6 months into the school year. Every school day we wake up at 7 am, eat breakfast, pack lunch, get dressed and get the backpack ready to be ready for the bus to pick up at 7:58. Seems simple enough, but there are tons of distractions for one of my children. Like the back of the cereal box, the football cards on his bedroom floor, which pair of socks feels best with his sneakers, the stuff on the front of the fridge that he sees when he needs to get his lunch ready. For me, it’s unbelievably frustrating.
Setting boundaries for myself with a little person I helped create and whom I love more than I love myself is not the easiest thing to do and seems just downright mean. I have been so frustrated every morning with him, always hounding him about what he has to do next, asking him if he did this or that, reminding him to stay focused. I am annoying to myself, I can’t begin to imagine the way he feels about me. As I have been thinking about this more the past few weeks I really had to ask myself is the question is this what you want your relationship with him to be centered around? Is this how you want him to leave the house everyday for school?
Last week at Moms In Prayer during the silent confession time I breezed right through, off hand asked God to reveal what He might want me to confess.
Okay onto thanksgiving!
And then when we began to pray for our boys, I felt like a load of confessing bricks unloaded on me. I suddenly became so aware of how my words and the tone of them were damaging my boy. The example of our interactions and how my other kids were interpreting them and in some ways taking my reactions and making it theirs with each other. I broke down and the two ladies who I meet with just let me cry and confess out loud. In my lack of boundaries with my own reactions and feelings, I was creating this level of shame with him at the way he processes his thoughts and time. In some ways he is truly trying, other times he doesn’t’ do it my way because he thinks he’s smarter. Either way I am in control of my reactions.
Last night before bed I decided to set up some limits for myself this morning. Things like I will only remind him one time the list of things he needs to get done before the bus comes – get dressed, breakfast, pack lunch, brush teeth, shoes and jacket on. I will just give 10 min reminders – it’s 7:20, it’s 7:30, and so on. I will speak calmly and without raising my voice. I will do all these things to keep my own frustrations under control but recognizing where my responsibility stops and helping him see where his responsibility begins.
So I did that.
And he missed the bus. Cool.
His big eyes and panic at the bus going by broke my heart. His quick thinking like what do I do now made me feel so sad for him. Watching Calle watch him miss the bus nearly did me in. She is the biggest reason he’s gotten there every other day this year by doing stuff for him at the last minute.
All these feelings are not crisis but they sure are effective.
He sat down on the couch at first like no big deal, someone will figure this out for me. Nope, not this time dude. I asked him what are we going to do now, “we” only because I’m your mom and you need to go to school. But also “we” because what you do or don’t do affects other people. It creates consequence regardless. He asked me to take him to school and I asked him what he can do different tonight or tomorrow so this won’t happen again. I reminded him that this is 6 months into the school year and not a new situation. He made the plan to pack his lunch at night before bed.
Here’s the thing, I could have told him to do that. I could have told him to lay out his clothes, put his shoes by the door, but I’m realizing Carter and I are kinda alike. We’re not as different as I thought we were or maybe even sometimes prided myself on and hoped we were, every morning watching him slam around right up to the last minute. Carter and I aren’t doing something because someone else says to, we make a change when it affects us or causes us consequences.
I took him to school, called Scotty on the way home and vented my frustrations, got home and sat down to have my quiet time with God and BAM!
“…that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me.”Colossians 1:28-29
I am created with tons of energy sometimes a ball of Tasmanian devil, electricity spinning and sparking energy. And that is only effective, only healthy, only working for good, when it is controlled. When I am disciplined by choosing “Christ in me” not Bethany’s check list.
In the same way the 7:58 deadline for Carter finds him running out to the bus jacket flapping in the wind, shoes untied, leaving a sister and mom frustrated and irritated in his wake, does his mother, yours truly, crash into a deadline. Or leap into an idea.
Yesterday you might have seen my post about getting a planner and beginning to discipline myself in my time management, to lessen the wake and effect of my actions, my business and church commitments and the effect and toll it takes on my family.
It’s a practical step I am making as a direct result of the consequences of my actions and lack of self control. I want the gifts and energy HE gives me to be powerfully at work in me and my business, my family. I don’t want the scary, unpredictable, unsafe sparking of that ball of electricity that that visual displays.
Raise your cup of coffee.
Here’s to the humbling reminder that I’m not so different from my 8yr old son.
Here’s to setting new boundaries of self discipline and self control- not to be legalistic and rigid but to inspire kinder words and interactions, calm and peaceful innermost thoughts, a home life and family relationships that are intentional, healthy, and forgiving.
And finally here’s to a God who always shows up, gently guiding, prompting the realigning of my will to His, and setting the example of what a good Father, a good parent looks like.