We are now full swing into summer but just a couple weeks ago we were hanging on by a thread. Our family of five was burnt out. Tired. Over it. The morning grind was exhausting and on one particular Thursday morning we hit a new low. I snapped a picture of the uneaten cereal bowl left on the counter because I wanted a reminder of the morning I failed. Because my husband and I, we failed big time on this particular morning.
We have an age gap in our home. Ten years separates our oldest and youngest. Having two teens in the house means our five-year-old doesn’t have quite the structured schedule he probably should. During the last few weeks of school bedtimes got later and later and mornings got harder and harder. This recipe for disaster finally imploded when an overtired kiddo and two crabby parents collided.
We were short on time and my husband reluctantly got a bowl of cereal ready for our little man. In a rush our little guy made a pretty good mess of milk and cinnamon toast crunch which set off Dad. Dad’s unnecessary response set off Mom..and a simple little “oops” erupted all out war on this otherwise gorgeous morning.
I wish I could say we got our act together and our morning ended on a high note, but that would be the fantasy version. Truth is little man left in tears, Daddy left in anger, and I was left with guilt.
One non-negotiable for me in parenting is that my boys start their day in a positive, encouraging, loving environment. When I send them off to face the challenges of the world I want them to know they always have a safe place and they are loved unconditionally. As I stood at the kitchen sink wondering what exactly had just transpired in the last ten minutes I was overcome with incredible disappointment in both my husband and myself. The harshest words were spoken to each other. Words said in anger, definitely not in love, every sharp, mean, pain-causing word spoken in front of our three impressionable boys.
Tears filled my eyes and my too-cool 15-year-old came and put his arms around me without saying a word. In that exact moment I knew we had epically failed. I hugged my oldest and thanked him for his thoughtfulness and apologized for the chaos and the anger. I emailed my little guy’s teacher to check in on him and she assured me he was all smiles. The morning events rolled through my mind multiple times throughout the day. My husband and I went on our already scheduled date night and had some long-overdue kid-free time. In reality the chaos of the last few weeks and lack of child-free moments were probably the fuel to the fire that erupted that morning. By the next day we were back on-track as a couple and as a family.
Why do I share with you the details of this miserable morning I would rather forget? Because friends, THIS is REAL life. We do our best. We try to give our all. But sometimes we fail. Does it make us bad spouses? No. Does it make us bad parents? Of course not. Life is hard. Relationships are work. But this crazy, chaotic, unpredictable mess is what we get to call life. And this life, OUR life, is a beautiful, wonderful, thing.