Last night Hubby and I stayed up late to finish my homework assignment that I forgot was due yesterday. I signed up for Freckles' "star of the week" week at back to school night, the first week of school. Unfortunately, I forgot to write it on the calendar. My little boy tried to tell me when he got home from school but I was busy cleaning up my 8th potty training incident of the day. He tried to remind me as I frantically tried to throw dinner together because the aforementioned incident set me back a precious 20 minutes. He tried to tell us as we sang a primary song to which we couldn't remember the words as we fought the frustration of having 10 minutes before bedtime to pull off Family Home Evening. When we finally got to the family business portion of Family Night, he took his time to inform us that he was supposed to have a "cool" poster with tons of pictures and a treat. He should have had it yesterday but "that's okay, I can take it tomorrow". I was a humbled mother. He was forgiving, flexible, understanding, and positive. If that wasn't enough, he was trusting and showed confidence that I would mother up* to the task and not let him down. This was his chance to shine in front of his classmates and enjoy the spotlight. He had confidence that even though I had not lived up to my responsibilities, I would make everything right.
*Mother up: derived from the saying "man up" but referring to the expectations and responsibilities a mother must live up to. Though I've never been a man or been expected to "man up" I believe to "mother up" is more difficult with more lasting consequences. Think about it.
This morning, when Freckles saw the Rice Krispie treats Hubby had made and the poster I made complete with stars I luckily happened to have on hand and poor quality photos printed on my printer at 10:30 pm, he exclaimed “This is so cool, thanks Mom!” My heart leaped with gratitude for my pack rat tendencies which vomit supplies at urgent moments.
And then my heart softened again with humility. As the kids all ran off to school, I flashed back to yesterday afternoon, when I ranted at my other child who had forgotten to turn in the homework that he had finally completed a week late. This was after countless (not so patient) reminders, and being grounded for 3 days. I mentally replayed the last strand of my patience slipping through my fingertips. As I reflected on all of the positive attributes Freckles had displayed with all of his 8 years of earthly experience, I found myself in awe of the spirit of Christ evident in my little boy. I was ashamed. As a mother I should be the example. I should be the one showing Christ-like love, mercy, patience, forgiveness. How can my child’s feeling of self worth and knowledge of his mother’s love, trust, and confidence compare with missing math worksheets? I am reminded of a better way to motivate. Unfortunately, in the frustration, exasperation, and anger of a moment I forget what I know.
The longer I have been a mother, the more I realize I have to learn and apply. There is so much my children can teach me. I hope I can be a good student in the short time I have them as teachers.