These are the words Calvin told me a few weeks ago. My first thought was "How dare he call me that, I am not a mean mommy. There are lots of mean mommy's in the world and I am not one of them." But once I set my pride aside, I realized that he was right. I am a mean mommy.
Calvin was not listening to me for something I can no longer remember from the stress of the day. Max was trying to get my attention while I was preparing our lunch, and when Calvin chose to disobey me again I reacted. If I remember correctly, I said something along the lines of, "Calvin, stop that right now. Why do you keep making me repeat myself!?" (in a louder than normal tone, but not yelling).
The problem with me reacting and instead of responding is that I was being a mean mommy. My kids never do well when I raise my voice or do not get down to their level. I also was not doing our normal routine of correction when one of the boys isn't listening to us. Normally, I will get down to his level to ask him 1) why he did what he did, 2) respond with a consequence for his action, and then 3) talk about how we can change the behavior moving forward.
A few years ago a good friend of mine who moved away told me about sinning against our kids. It never really made sense to me until recently and now I can see how I let my own sin affect my kids. Was it my fault Calvin chose to keep disobeying me? No. He did the action of course. But I chose not to respond correctly because I was too pre-occupied. I also chose the path of anger instead of the way of grace.
Patience has never been a trait of mine, but I can see more clearly now how desperately I need it with my kids. Later on that same day, I apologized to Calvin. I told him I was sorry for being a mean mommy and asked him to forgive me. The best part about having a young child is their forgiveness. They do not hold grudges and they love us unconditionally.
As adults, we hold grudges and have a hard time with truly forgiving someone. With kids it is so easy to forgive, forget, and move on. They teach us how to forgive one another, and even more so remind us of the forgiveness of God in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Today I am "The best mom in all of the universe," thanks to me buying him whipped cream. Kids need grace and forgiveness just like us, though. We can easily forget this when we're going about our busy day. We need more grace and they need grace too. My prayer is that I will not sin against my kids so much and by God's grace will breathe first before responding harshly toward my kids. Lord, have mercy on us parents.