“You are, I admit in a better state than if you were satisfied with yourself.” – Blessed John Henry Newman
Have any of you ever had a moment when you were disciplining your child or children, and you can hear your own voice, and you think to yourself, I sound mean! But worse still, you hear that other voice in your head that says to calm down but you ignore it and keep using “the voice.” You now the voice I’m talking about, the one a teacher uses when he or she is about to send a kid to the principal’s office.
It seems that when I start this debate in my head, that my frustration only grows if I continue to use “the voice.” In other words, I don’t feel less frustrated because I yelled at my kids. Instead my adrenaline starts to rise, and them being the young innocent beings that they are, seem to get confused by my attitude and become unsure of what to do next. In my particular case, being an adoptive mother, I worry that in their previous lives, (no I don’t mean the ones where they were a cat and came back as a human, I simply mean that they had a different life before coming to our home), I wonder what punishment came for them after their caregiver started in with “the voice?” I worry that their minds go right back to that moment and they’re more frozen in fear and unable to respond to my instructions, than the fact that they might just be toddlers who don’t want to listen.
So it’s in those moments, I've heard from counselor and read in parenting book, that I need a “mommy time out.” Of course, my time out today came right before I was going to sit outside with my husband and my kids, in our little plastic outdoor pool. So I feel guilty that I’ll miss that time. But I know I what my family needs is for me to take a little time out and regroup.
I get overwhelmed with the tasks of the day and I’m already, at 2pm, planning the rest of the day and counting the minutes till my husband leaves for a work meeting. I consider telling myself to suck it up and skip the time out, but luckily, I ignore myself and the guilt, knowing there will be more of that coming later, and instead I find myself in adoration, sitting next to a Magnificat, that someone had left there. I open to today’s meditation and I find a meditation by Blessed John Henry Newman.
He is speaking of our constant battle with serving God, and our own desires, and how sometimes we see a problem in ourselves and we set out to change, we make a plan, and then watch as we fail to follow through and our plan crumbles. Often times, in the end, feeling worse about ourselves and our behaviors than, before we came up with the plan. But he assures us that we are in a “more promising state,” if we are working to better ourselves than we would be if we were always satisfied with ourselves.
So I am left to assume that my time out was well needed and has energized me to return home, hug my kids and my husband and start again with my resolve to stop using “the voice,” or at least count to 10 if I hear it coming.
Now off to do that laundry.
Copyright 2012 Courtney Vallejo