I’ve started to live in fear of that time I approach the pearly gates.
There I will be, about to join all of creation in glory to God and majestic splendor, and I will have to explain a small portion of my life:
The last 30 minutes of the day before my children actually fall asleep.
The majority of the day around our house is filled with me trying to be an intentional — or at least decent! — mother. We read books, we work through differences, we imagine, we laugh, we have tickle fights, I feed them relatively well-balanced meals.
I don’t think there’s a chance I should be nominated for Mother of the Year, but I’m pretty okay with the parenting I do throughout the day and some days it’s stellar. (There are also days it’s shameful. That’s the way life goes, I guess.)
Then the evening rolls around. We have dinner. We do a story time. It’s time to change into pajamas, brush teeth and go to the bathroom.
Can someone explain to me why it takes 25 minutes for a five-year-old and a four-year-old to brush their teeth and go to the bathroom?
I have timed myself and I can get those jobs done in 3 minutes, flat. But our girls, they take their time, giggling as they leave the faucet running, swishing their mouthwash with abandon, arguing about who is on the toilet the longest… 25 minutes. Every night.
Once we finally use a crow bar and many malicious threats to get them pried out of the loo we tuck them into bed… say the Lord’s Prayer… pray for family and country. Then we do individual hugs and kisses.
“Mama! Can I ask just one question?” Without fail, I say yes. And without fail that one question leads to three. Or four. Or five. And sometimes “what if” scenarios that involve mermaids and ponies and hypothetical situations about who in our family is going to die first and whether we can get a cat.
After all of this, it seems only right their words would be exhausted and we would be able to close the door to their bedroom and retire to our couch of television watching, blogging, and book reading joy.
This period of time begins the parade of problems.
“Mama, my water cup is dripping.” “But I had a bad dream.” “Tres is tooting.” “My lizard’s tail broke!” “I can’t find my special blankie.” “I’m too hot.” “I’m too cold.” “I forgot to go potty.” “My finger has a heartbeat.” The list goes on and on.
And by this time, I have to admit… the Mama is impatient. The Mama is short. The Mama considers accidentally, intentionally destroying all off spring.
This is the problem. This is what I fear will be a problem when I hit the pearly gates. Instead of lovingly putting our small ones to bed with kisses and love, secure in the knowledge they are safe and secure, we shoot out orders:
“Go to bed.” “Go to bed!” “Go To Bed!” “Go To Bed, NOW!” “GET IN BED RIGHT NOW!!!”
Dear Lord. Please forgive me. I’m working on it. Amen.
I’m not proud of this behavior, but surely I’m not the only parent with this problem? Is this just a season of life that will hopefully end?!