Some days I manage to hide the fact that I’m a terrible parent. I manage to be what I should be and follow the ideals of what I believe about parenting. It helps enormously to start with the Word of God and prayer, because then I have the Right Way sort-of programmed into my heart. Some days I can turn away wrath with a soft answer. I can study to answer, rather than rushing in with the mean and cutting words that are fighting to get out at my foolish lips. Some days, my lips are a tree of life to my family.
But some days, the abundance of my heart speaks. And the abundance of my heart is evil.
When I am tired and sick, when the creditors are literally banging down the door and burning up the phone lines, when the milk is finished, the larder is bare, and there’s nothing I can do to fix it, when my “to do” list for potentially paying clients is so long that it rolls off the table, across the room and out of the door, when those clients haven’t paid (despite promises), when the house is a tip and no one helps to clean it (even just by putting their own things where they belong), and then, on those days, when a simple maths problem like 70-28 takes an hour and a half to solve, and still comes out wrong – well, on those days I need to put a bit of space between me and EVERYTHING else. It’s time to take a walk, get some perspective. Breathe. Pray.
It’s not the words I said that cut so deeply, it was the way I said them. The frustration, impatience. The fear that because we are now so far behind today’s schedule, I’ll never get done what I need to do and thus never get paid and we really will lose everything. The complete failure to understand how it could be, in which dimension it could happen, that 70-28 could ever equal -18. The shouted “are you stupid?!”, never uttered, but written all over my face. The pain and bewilderment in her little eyes.
How could I be such a bad mama? How could I believe I was anything but? How could these precious souls have been entrusted to me? Of all people?