Yesterday would not be one of those days that I would entitle, “I was a really good mom today” day. Well, at least part of the day wasn’t. Breakfast was finished (I had made my kids Mickey Mouse waffles, Aidan had been asking for them for several days), it was a cloudy morning and I had spent a good portion of the last two weeks outdoors, tending to my gardens. I had already declared, “today is a cleaning day kiddos!” So they knew. They knew, yes I am talking about my 5, 3, 2 and 1 year old. They knew that on cleaning day we clean all the house, the dining room, living room, kitchen, bathroom, hallway, and their bedroom. And they (the ones who have made about 95% of the mess that I’ve let accumulate over the past two weeks, but they still did it, not me) would be helping me clean-up all the mess. They’ve actually gotten really good at getting into the routine of doing most of the picking up and I just usually direct traffic, because if I don’t, they don’t do anything much more than playing with the toys I’ve told them to put away.
So, we were on a roll, and I was feeling pretty okay about our progress. But, we were not done, and I was starting to sense that the natives were getting restless because now I’m starting to see little messes where our just cleaned floor had been picked up! I’m wanting to get it all just right, once today, if even for just a few moments, “I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MY HOUSE CLEAN!” Cait is really not that much of a helper quite yet and we are working on the rest of them. But she committed “the sin” at just the wrong moment. If it had been an hour earlier, or even an hour later, it wouldn’t have mattered. I was trying to get the kitchen done when Aidan came into the kitchen to let me know that “Cait just dumped water on the rug.” This is her new thing. She
demands likes to take a drink out of someone’s cup and then immediately dumps the rest on the floor. Unfortunately we have this “rule” about taking drinks out of the kitchen, and Eamon had “forgotten” and left his 32 oz jug on the floor, in the livingroom. Of course, Cait delightedly found this treasure and took a little sip and then dumped the other 31.5 ounces on the rug.
Mom to the rescue? Not quite. Maybe this is where Guenna derived the term “Mommy’s a monster“? I was angry. Not at Cait, of course she still doesn’t know any better, but my 3 year old, now he’s “been told!” I proceeded to tell the children, remind them ONCE AGAIN, that they are “NEVER TO TAKE WATER OUT OF THE KITCHEN!!!” And this is why guys, do you see this water? Guenna, my precious two year-old-daughter says, “you screaming mommy?” I do have to add this disclaimer though, she accuses me of screaming when I barely raise my voice, I think she instinctively knows when I’m in the wrong and likes to point it out ;) I said, “I am angry Guenna, that my children are NOT OBEYING ME!” Okay, so what does that say about the last two hours of cleaning they just worked really hard to accomplish with me?
So, I knew I needed to calm down, and I knew I was in the wrong. I got them to the table and I finished getting their lunch ready and then after I had calmed down I asked them all to come into the room and I apologized and asked them to forgive me. I explained that it was wrong of me to get so angry and that I’m working on not doing that. They all had little smirks on their faces while they said, “I forgive you mommy.” Then Aidan said something to me that just blew me away. He told me, “When you ask someone to forgive you, it means you wont ever do it again.” Whoa, is that what he expects of me? Or is he just clarifying? So I responded, “Well, when you disobey me and you ask me to forgive you, does that mean you wont ever disobey me again?” “No.” And I said, “Well son, I’m a sinner just like you. And God is still helping me to not sin, I’m changing but it doesn’t mean that I wont do it again even though I don’t want to.” “Well, when you are old, you don’t sin anymore.” Hmmm, I can tell that I’m dealing with a real perfectionist here, “No, that’s not true Aidan, did you know that nana and papa still sin (sorry to uncover you guys like that!;)” Well, he didn’t and I think he was just a little disappointed, but that’s reality folks. We all have sinned, and we all still sin, that is why we need His grace and forgiveness, daily.
As this interchange with my children, especially my five-year-old son was taking place I was really beginning to grasp how extremely important it is that we confess our sins to our children. We have our children confess their sins to us all the time, and ask us for forgiveness and they do it with oneanother. But in order for them to really grasp the importance of confession they need to see it in us. Otherwise they will begin to believe that one day they will arrive to that age where confession is no longer necessary. Like, now I’m 18, I’m an adult and now I can do what I want and I don’t have to confess my sins anymore! Freedom. It’s almost as though this passage into adulthood gives them passage into freedom to do what they will, without guilt or the need for confession. No wonder why we have so many teens who fall by the wayside as soon as they get over to that greener grass. The other thing that I can see confession doing in my children, it connects us. They now feel that we are more on the same level, she’s a sinner, and I’m a sinner. I think that we parents are afraid to confess to our children that we were in the wrong becasue they will somehow lose respect for us. But really it does the opposite. When I’ve confessed my sins to my children, immediately afterward there is this feeling that I get from them like, “maybe I’m not doing so bad, even she messes up sometimes!” I feel more connected to them and I actually feel that they respect me more. And they get a real understanding that this life is a process of becoming more like Christ, we never get to leave this process, but we live a life longing to be more like him no matter how long we’ve been a Christian.
So all of that to say. Have you sinned against your children? Admit it in your heart, confess your sins to your children. Humble yourself and ask their forgiveness. And then move on. Don’t beat yourself up, let them forgive you and let Him forgive you. He’s still working on all of us and He wants to use our children to refine us, refinement is not punishment. He refines us because He loves us. Those of us who have a lot of children must need much more refinement ;)
Well I better get going, I need to play fetch with Eamon’s dog, Curly (Aidan, and I’m Eamon’s mommy). Oops, now I have two dogs and they both want to fetch. I love this life!