Wednesday, September 12, 2012

choosing gentleness

last week i had one of those seemingly insignificant moments that i have been thinking about ever since. we were having breakfast and logan decided to smear his cream cheese from his bagel all over his face. my immediate reaction was to reprimand him, but then i stopped myself. really, was it worth the fight? because i knew what would happen: i would get mad and he would either have a meltdown or respond back with his own attitude, which would most likely land him in timeout. either way, it didn't look good and was definitely not the way i wanted to start our day. and so instead i called him cream cheesey face. he thought it was the funniest thing and we laughed about it as i cleaned off his face. i mentally gave myself a high five. 
logan is having a hard time right now. i'm not sure why, but he seems to be having more meltdowns, is definitely testing the limits of his independence and can be downright defiant. but he can also be so sweet, kind, thoughtful and funny. i guess that is the dichotomy of toddlerhood, but it often leaves me feeling exasperated and it doesn't necessarily bring out the best in me. but last weeks experience was a reminder of how much my reaction matters and how i play a huge role in setting the tone and feeling of my house. as i was thinking about this, i found a timely blog post that articulated those very thoughts (much better than i could). the author quoted a passage from the latest issue of seeing the everyday
“Though not always plain to see, it is our responses in ordinary moments that create the mortar that binds us together…
As we see the importance of each exchange and interaction together, we realize the endless opportunities within each day, wherever we are, to build and reinforce the care we have for one another. We recognize that it is in these ordinary interactions that such care is built…
Kindness and gentleness become our natural responses, trust develops hour by hour, and we become more effective teachers and learners as we seek to build our side of the fence.”
and this sentiment from the blog post really resonated with me: "Lately I’ve been feeling the need to go gently, speak gently, do more things gently, as a mother." 
i want to be a more gentle mother. i want to choose gentleness even when i am feeling impatient and gentleness is not my first inclination. and i want to be more gentle and patient with myself as a mother too, because i mess up and stumble a lot in this amazing (and challenging) journey of motherhood. it means saying i'm sorry and determining to do a little better next time and being ok when i don't get it "right." like the other night after i had asked logan to get back in bed at least 10 times (because he had to go potty...10 times) and near the end i was definitely not being gentle. that night before i went to bed i went into his room and sat on the floor next to his bed and watched him sleeping peacefully. my heart melted. i gently stroked his hair (but barely, because there was no way i was risking waking him up after it took him so long to go to sleep) and i told him i was sorry for yelling. that i really am trying and i'll try to be better. 
in my effort to be more gentle i am also trying to say yes to my kids more. i read an article about how we often say no because it is inconvenient for us as parents or will create more work for us. i'm totally guilty of that. i didn't say no because it would harm my kids or because it wasn't good for them, i said no because it was easier for me. so when logan wanted to play basketball outside, i dragged his little basketball hoop outside even though it was kinda a pain and would have been easier to make him stay inside and play. and i let him help me make pbj sandwiches even though it took longer (and i was in a hurry) and was messier. i'm going to try and remember that "consistently offering a gentle response is how we develop trust, carve out moments to teach, and express love." i'm going to try to choose gentleness more.


Holly said...


Team Covey said...

This is so tender and true! I am inspired by your mothering. It is so sanctifying. I think often of "God-like" parenting. Of course Heavenly Father patiently lets me do it my way so I can learn. SO great. Thanks for some great perspective. Also hoping you will break out the actual cheer outfit in January in AZ!

The Carlson Crew said...

Wow, this resonates so much with me...learning these same lessons right now. I'm so grateful to be learning them while the kids are still little so hopefully I'm not messing them up too much. Thank you for sharing these thoughts!