Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sweet like honey

While fixing dinner one night last week, Bella started fussing at Zachary for bumping into her.  I fussed at Bella for fussing at her brother.  Zachary ran around fussing at the dog .  And true to form Xena bit whatever cat was closest to her – I only wish I were making this up!  I stopped in my tracks, hugged Bella and told her I was sorry for fussing and remembering something a friend shared with me earlier that day I took out a bottle of honey and sat down with the kids.
“Bella and Zachary, kind words are like honey (then I gave them each a drop on their fingers to taste) sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”  They loved the honey.  We did it again.  Then I said some kinds words to Bella and gave her some more honey.  I repeated the same thing with Zachary.  Bella said something kind to Zachary, he got a lick of honey.  I helped Zachary say kind words to Bella, she got a lick of honey.  We all hugged, were much calmer, even the dog was laying down beside us.  Then I put the honey away and started back with dinner.
As I thought of the exchange we just had, I started to cry.  My kids loved the little exercise, but I realized I was the one who needed it.  From where was Bella, Zachary and the dog learning to fuss?  ME!  From where were they learning harsh worlds or tones?  ME!  Tears and shame.
The problem is that most days I am tired.  I seem to be walking through a thick sticky fog with short times of clean clear air where I take a deep breath before the fog rolls in again.  I am not miserable, I am just tired.  I am most tired at the beginning of the evening, when I am trying to get dinner together, when my daughter wants to play and my son wants me to hold him.  If you have ever tried cooking with a toddler strapped to you, you know that safety is not the only issue – wing span becomes a problem; stirring is a four handed adventure, pouring is tricky at best, chopping is out of the question. 
I understand their needs, mom is just home from work we need time with her!  Simple.  But I need to get them – and their father – fed so that we can play, do bath time, reading, and all the things they are needing, wanting, and pushing to do.  But this is the hardest time of the day for me, it is when I am most tired and it is when I am most cranky!  This is when I am most likely to be short tempered and unkind.  Bad mother, horrible wife, hang my head in shame.
I don’t want to be this way.  If they would only freeze for 30 minutes, let me get the meal done and perhaps a few sips of wine, I would be golden.  But they can’t, they won’t, they shouldn’t.  I actually want them to be part of the routine, I like when Bella cuts the cucumbers with me, when Zachy comes over and hugs me then totters off to play with Daddy, or when Archie comes over and kisses me while some child is slung over his shoulder squealing.
So these days I take it slower, I measure my words, I make them softer and kinder.  I make time to play, tickle and hug my kids before making dinner.  I take breaks while making dinner to talk to them, hold them or play with them, and kiss their father.  Sometimes I put them in the sink so they can play/bathe while I make dinner.  And in case I forget, come home grumpy or start feeling a little crazy, I have a bottle of honey shaped like a bear on my window sill, looking at me.

The picture we now have hanging up in our home