Monday, December 5, 2011

Best Behavior Month

I remember, as a child, once the month of December hit, I tried so hard to always be on my best behavior. I did not want to be on Santa's naughty list, and I treated it as though the list didn't exist the other 11 months of the year. But December, man...that was Santa's month, and if I wasn't extra good, I just knew my stocking would be empty. I never believed he gave coal to the bad boys and girls. That's a bit dark for Santa, don't you think?

As an adult, I've noticed I do nearly the same thing. Christmas gets closer, and while Santa's list no longer frightens me, I think about Jesus, and I just know I need to try to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend...person, and so I begin to try harder. This all hit me last Wednesday, November 30th. It was the most rotten awful day, for no apparent reason. I was the most rotten, miserable person...again, for no apparent reason.

Brace yourself, because I am about to get very real with you. I believe I'm not the only one that has felt this way, but most moms are terrified to admit it. I love my kids. I love them with all of my heart and then some, but that Wednesday, that evil, awful day, I couldn't find it in me to like them. I was trying to finish up a couple of crochet orders for customers. I was ahead of schedule, and not really pressed for time, but I like to stay ahead of the game, and once I've started something, I have a hard time putting it down. Now that doesn't mean I neglect my children, but that particular day they were particularly needy. After every bite of food, after every meal I gave them I was countered with, "Mommy, I'm still hungry! Can I have something to eat please!" which sounds cute and legitimate, except it was never without a whine, and it was only their way of getting 'treats'. They were suddenly very full when I would just give them more of their meal.

They used me and my newly proclaimed craft corner, as their personal jungle gym, and refused to listen to any of the following: "Don't jump on the couch! Stop yelling. Don't hit. Don't touch that. Get out of your sisters face. Keep your shirt on..." you get the idea. They abused phrases they've heard me say, and took them out of context, so that every so often I heard one of them say, "ExCUSE me?" or "Don't talk to me that way!" when they didn't get what they wanted. Everything they said was a scream, demand, or whine. The words "please" and "thank you" seemed to have escaped them, and they would not leave me alone to do my work. They constantly made me miss stitches and have to start over, lose count and have to start over, or just plain mess something up and have to start over.

If you know my children, this is their rarest form. On a typical day, I can sit and blog, crochet, or sew, while they play together or watch Sesame Street. On a typical day, they go down for a 2 hour nap in the afternoon with no problems, and on a typical day, they eat what I give them without any complaints. As you can see, this was no typical day. I was no longer feeling like their loving mother, but rather like their big sister that they just would. not. leave. alone.

And so, I began acting out like a 10 year old girl, saying things to them in a tone I very likely used on my little sister many, many times. "Get away from me! Leave me alone for just one minute! Don't touch me!" As a last resort, I began to get sarcastic with them, "Nice. Super. That was a great idea!" I don't need to tell you that it was completely lost on them.

My irritability all came to a head when my pork bbq in the crock pot didn't shred like it was supposed to, making it very difficult to put on sandwiches, and tough for the kids to chew. Being a Wednesday, I purposely planned a crock pot meal because the kids had Awana in the evening. Awana is a church youth group for just about all ages. They even have Bible studies for the parents there waiting. It starts at 6:30, meaning we have to leave by 6, which is usually when we'd be eating dinner, but with the pork bbq in the crock pot all day, I just knew we'd be able to smoothly and quickly eat at 5:30 and get out the door on time. Instead, I was rushing two "still hungry" kids out the door at 6:15, smelling like botched pork bbq.

The whole way to Awana, I was muttering irritated comments about the drivers, and didn't even realize it until I heard Elijah from the back seat say, in an irritated tone, "Nobody don't know how to drive their cars!" I then toned it down, keeping my irritation silent.

We pulled up to Awana, I got the kids into their classrooms, and was really looking forward to sitting outside the church sanctuary, crocheting my latest order. For weeks now, I've used this 1 and a half hours for myself, just to sit quietly by myself, and crochet. Most nights the worship team is practicing, so I even get some nice, relaxing music. I sat down, opened my bag, and let out a loud, obnoxious groan, muttering, "You've GOT to be kidding me!" I brought the unfinished project, and forgot the yarn. There were a few items I sewed on while sweating from the fumes that I was certain were spewing from every pore in my body. In the 10 minutes that took, a woman sat down next to me, and invited me to join her prayer group. I went, somewhat reluctantly, but realizing I had nothing else to do at that point.

While they were praying for my ridiculous prayer request that I wouldn't be so doggone miserable and irritable, I realized, this was it. December was going to be the next day, and Jesus was watching! That's His month. As crazy as that logic is (I don't need to receive e-mails, ministering to me on how Jesus watches all year 'round, I get it), it taught me something. I thank GOD that Jesus doesn't have a naughty or nice list based on my actions, but that He has a gift to give to everyone wanting to receive it.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--" Ephesians 2:8 

So, while I will try not to be such a miserable, irritable person, it is comforting to know that even when I'm so awful that I can't even love myself, Jesus still loves me.

The next day was December aka Best Behavior Month, and I took a break from my crocheting, to be a "nice list" mommy, and got down on the floor to craft with the kids. It's amazing what good medicine that was for all of our miserableness. :)


  1. Beautifully written and I can totally relate! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh Erin I was reading this and laughing and sad at the same time. As you know my kids are crazy and like how your're kids are in rare form but I realize i speak super sarcastically to them to!! I feel for ya on those days and know that you are not the only one dealing with the crazy ness and the bad attitude. Also I do the same thing I know Jesus is watching all year round but seriously in December it is more real to me for some reason. I realize I am going to make mistakes but God has my kids in his hands which is a huge load off of m back!!! Keep up the writing I love it