The most important thing that happened this week was my husband calling me out for being a mean person. It hurt, but only because it was true. Dang. It rocked my world.
I've got issues about being on time. When I was a kid, my ballet teacher wouldn't let you take class if you were at all late. She'd shame the snot out of you (because obviously, at 7 or 8, you were in charge of the timing in your family...), and then make you sit and watch the class. I don't remember any time at all that this happened to me. My family was prompt. But, I guess it left an impression on me. Now, I'm crazy about timing. I'm convinced tragedy WILL strike if we are late for anything. I begin to physically react with adrenaline if my internal clock indicates that we are running late. I'm great at planning things to get us out the door with minutes to spare. The rest of my family sucks at it, and that doesn't bother them a bit.
Coupled with the timing things is this chip on my shoulder about JUST being a SAHM. The circumstances of my life allow me one area of excellence, of expertise: getting household actions completed properly and on time. So, I feel like a major failure when it doesn't happen. Add to this already troublesome combination, the threat of my body falling apart on me if things aren't done just so to maintain optimal energy and health. Oh, the routine! The routine is key. We HAVE TO do it how I want or the earth may just swing too close to the sun and everything will burn to oblivion.
When we are at go time, Lord show mercy and protection to the creature that crosses me. (Seriously, that is no vain prayer. I literally hope every day that God will protect my family from my neuroticisim.) WHY DON'T YOU HAVE YOUR SHOES ON!? WHY ARE YOU SLURPING YOUR MILK SO SLOWLY?! WHY DO YOU HAVE TO POOP NOW?! IT IS NOT TIME FOR THAT!!!
So, after getting everyone buckled in and ready to go, I came back in to say "You need to offer more support! You can't emotionally retreat when I start getting crazy about getting things done. I need you to reassure me and help everyone stick to the plan." My best friend, my husband of 11 years said, "I have a lot of thoughts about this morning." "SO SHARE THEM!!!" "Well... A. You are harsh and impatient. The kids suffer because of how demanding you are." I'll spare you the rest. Well, me. I'll spare me the rest. He was right. And, yes. I do need more support from him, and we got to that. And, yes. My job is hard and unrewarding at times, and I do deserve more respect and cooperation. But, like I tell the kids: Just because there is a good reason, doesn't make it ok to lose it on everyone. I felt very convicted. I was dealing with the back and forth of my justifications and defenses versus the hard truth that I mistreat my family for the sake of THE PLAN.
I'm so glad he told me how he saw it. We aren't able to see our own worst behavior sometimes. That's why it's so bad! It's still out of the scope of our abilities of self-control. I apologized to the kids, and, thankfully, they acted like they had no idea what I was talking about. Other times, they cry and are relieved that I acknowledged what I had done wrong. Confessing and apologizing to them is VERY important to me. After I dropped everyone off at school, a little diddy from my childhood appeared in my head. I have learned to pay close attention to songs that pop up "out of nowhere." I believe it is a way the Holy Spirit speaks to me.
"God carries out his decrees in creation with providence, and providence is: his completely holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing every creature and every action... woah, oh, woah..." My mom, sister, and I learned the questions and answers to the Westminster Shorter Catechism according to our own made up tunes during the nineties, and they are lodged, thank God, in my brain. They come to me regularly, and that is why I am determined to teach this New City Catechism to myself and my kids. Catechism is an excellent way to teach the basics of Christian theology. (I actually believe in Jesus so this is pretty important to me and my family.)
When I got home, I wrote out the words playing on repeat in my head. "Providence," I thought. "His preserving and governing every creature and every action. So, even the harried events of this morning were controlled by God. Brendan and I needed to have that conversation. I needed to be reminded not to be so hard on my kids about timing. Brendan needed to be reminded (or maybe told for the first time?) that I feel unvalued and disrespected when they don't give me credit for knowing the hows and whys of making a good plan for getting things done."
Thank God for his providence! Hard conversations and hard situations work in soft hearts to make things better.