Everything came to a screeching halt that afternoon. The kids had been struggling for days. It seemed all I was saying was constant correction of behavior, addressing ugly words, separating kids who couldn't get along together. And yet I was trying to give them so many opportunities to turn it all around. We were doing fun things. Special Christmas memories. My MOM was here for crying out loud - our favorite person in the world - and yet they could not get it together. We had several late nights. A couple because of fun things and choices we made. Several because of things we had to do. Rehearsals we had to be at. But still. I was done. D.O.N.E. I was completely sick and tired of saying the same thing over and over and over and OVER to kids who were not listening or changing their behavior.
I'll back up a little bit. I knew that we had to be at church that afternoon early before the rehearsal for the services that night. I had to pick up the food for all of the choir/band/kids choir etc since they all had to be there throughout both services too. It was going to be a lot. I knew that. We all knew that. So I told the kids after lunch that everyone needed to lay down and rest. When I asked them to choose a book for us to read before going upstairs and got ZERO response or obedience, I came unglued. They all went upstairs. I think a little bit shocked at my reaction. Well, good. I think they need to realize that their behavior DOES take its toll on me and it does affect me. We talked - well, I talked at them - and told them I had had enough. This was not going to be tolerated. I was happy to take every last thing away from them if that's what it took but that their attitudes stunk and it was going to change. Told them to go to sleep, shut their door, went in my room, and burst into tears.
I'm not really a "burst into tears" kind of person. It just doesn't happen all that often. And I wish I was a better writer to communicate what I was feeling. I was so upset. Upset with the kids. Upset with myself because I was sure that obviously I had royally messed something up to have kids with such horrible attitudes and behaviors. Upset because I knew that I work so hard all the time on these issues and upset that we are STILL struggling through them! Upset that my Mom was here to see all of this - not that she thinks we are perfect by any means - but hated that I was ruining her vacation by having to deal with all this mess. And just exhausted.
David came up and we talked through it a bit. Well, he talked. I was still pretty emotional :). Mom encouraged me as well and said "this too shall pass" :) - her famous phrase. And I knew that I was tired. Tired from a month of constant going and late stuff and obligations and rehearsals and preparations and stress. Oh, and in the midst of this I ran to Publix which was closing early and I had to make sure I had a few more things for Christmas dinner. Sigh. It never stops.
When the kids woke up, we talked about it some more. I apologized to them for my reaction but told them that I was glad that they saw how upset it made me. I don't want them to be so self-absorbed. We all got ourselves to a good place and agreed that some changes were going to have to be made.
Looking back, that afternoon still makes me sad to think about. I blame myself for a lot of it - for letting certain things go too long. For responding emotionally to something that really wasn't that big of a deal. People say to me all the time "I just don't know how you do it!" or "I just don't know how you manage with all those kids and all that you do at church". Well, I don't always. That's the reality of it. As a mom, there is just so much that rests on your shoulders. So much. And there's only so much that other people can take for you. And sometimes I think it's just too much. And I think that's what happened. It just stunk that it happened on Christmas Eve.