August 30, 2010

The Terrible Twos and Keeping it Together

{ cj at his 2-year birthday party }
Do not be deceived by this super adorable face.  Behind those squinty eyes and big infectious smile lies a 2-year old monster. 

The terrible twos have invaded our household, and boy, can they be pretty terrible at times!  Granted, for the most part, CJ is fairly well-behaved and reasonable (for a 2-year-old), but there are also many a moments when he tests the boundaries and limits of what he can get away with.  He insists on having it his way!  And my patience runs low!

Once the boys were down for their nap yesterday afternoon, I found therapy in washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen.  Therapy also took form in banging pots in the kitchen sink and slamming cabinet doors (I feel it necessary to confess that).  These moments sometimes take me by surprise, and when I calm down, I often try to figure out why it is I'm so flustered and boiling inside.

And the bottom line pretty much comes to this:  I insist on having it my way, too!

In many ways, I am no different from a 2-year-old.  Except I can reflect and better recognize my selfishness as sin (most of the time). 

Grace is so important.  It allows me to not be so hard on the kids, my husband, myself.  I think it's the last I struggle with the most.  I have this image of what the perfect mom should be like and fall so short.  And I get upset and disappointed with myself because my house is not in order, dinner doesn't turn out well, the kids are misbehaving, errands don't get completed, etc, etc.

Sound familiar?

Advice was recently given to me by a friend which I found very helpful: 

"Don't be hard on yourself.  You have to do what works best for you".   Meaning if doing a thorough cleaning once a month as opposed to once a week works for us, then by all means, so be it.  It's okay if every meal isn't made from scratch, and the kids watch a tv program or two just so you can get dinner ready or just have a moment to sit back for a little bit.

And secondly, "Enjoy the children and encourage them to be kids."  I so desperately want order and control in my house, but I realize my expectations of my children are unrealistic at times.   I want my 2-year-old to be perfect, but how can I expect that when I'm so far from it myself?

You really do just have to take a few deep breaths, get a hold of yourself, keep things in perspective, and not let the 2-year or 30-something-year-old tantrums get the best of us.  Extend grace mostly for yourself.

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