I have a friend who is always late. Well, except once. She did walk down the aisle on time for her wedding. We always joke that she is on “Angie Time.”
My family is usually running late. Our tardiness has many culprits: the snooze button, staying up too late the night before, TV, Facebook, can’t find our stuff, changing clothes for the umpteenth time. You name it, and it has probably made us late.
Usually when we are late, my husband or I will yell at the kids, “Hurry up! We are late!” And I will just go ahead and admit here that a lot of the time, it is our own fault. Our kids are not perfect, but neither are we. We hit snooze too many times. We watch the morning news for too long. I change clothes about 5 times before leaving the house. Oh, and like my kids, I always have to us the restroom.
So, why then do I yell at my kids when we are late? It is hard to show grace in those rushed moments when it is 7:35 and I have to be at work by 7:45 and I can hear the train in the distance. It is hard to show grace when it is 8:51, and we should have been at church 10 minutes ago and the boys are looking for notebooks and haven’t even brushed their teeth yet. Yes, when we are running late, it is difficult to show grace. Yelling and becoming angry doesn’t win the tardiness battle, nor does it win the hearts of our children.
In Chapter 20, Wendy suggests a battle plan of sorts. First GO TO BED at a decent time. We’ve already talked about the dangers of exhaustion. Tired, late mama’s aren’t any better to deal with. We make our children stick to a bed time, so we should too. I’d also like to add DON’T HIT SNOOZE. On top of getting behind, I usually feel worse afterwards . That’s no way to start the day.
Wendy also suggests preparing. By spending time with God each morning, He can prepare our hearts for the day. We want to be prepared for meetings, appointments, and class, so why shouldn’t we prepare our hearts for our greatest task of the day, mothering our children? It is also helpful to lay out clothes and make school lunches the night before. I hate searching for that Cubs hoodie or scrambling at 7:30 to pack two school lunches and write out a cafeteria check when I am running late.
Along with preparing, we should plan for the unexpected. As moms, this should be a no brainer. Think of all the extra outfits, diapers, formula, snacks and……keep the list going…..that we packed for our wee ones before an outing. We had all of those just in case and what if scenarios that we had to be ready for. So, it should be the same with getting to where we need to go. For instance, I know the train usually comes around 7:30. Therefore, it would be best to leave the house by 7:20 so I can be sure to cross the tracks and not have to sit and wait for the train to pass which would make me later. I’ve also discovered the best ways to get from my house to 3 different schools and what time I would need to be at each school to ensure I’m not late for work.
I know we can’t account for everything: the sick child, the thunderstorm that knocks the electricity out, the flat tire, or the child that decides today is the day to wear a suit and tie to church for the first time ever. When those things come, what a great opportunity for us to show grace. We can handle that unexpected wardrobe request with excitement because who knows when this kid will ever want to dress like a little man again. Those extra cuddles may be what the little one needs to get over his nightmare. That comforting word might be what the teenager needs to get his day started on the right foot.
That word has touched my heart this week.
I see more and more the importance of showing grace to our children in the chaos of life. Sometimes they are the cause of the chaos and sometimes it is by our own doing. Wendy stated, “Every hard mothering day is a fresh opportunity to grab hold of Jesus,” and it is an opportunity to share the grace that He gives to us.
Bear with me on this…..
I love deer. They are beautiful creatures. Their agility and grace amaze me. Deer can speed away or walk quietly through a forest. They can stand perfectly still or jump tall heights. God made them surefooted creatures. And me, well, not so much. I’m clumsy and trip over my own two feet. I don’t have amazing moves unless you count that time I fell in slow motion. But God can make us as surefooted as deer. Habakkuk 3:19 and Psalm 18:33 reminds us that God is our strength and no matter how rocky the path, He will make our feet like the feet of deer. He will guide us and help us put one foot in front of the other so we may walk in righteousness. Even when we are running late and about to be harsh with our children. Y’all, Jesus is always the answer.
What are some ways you can prepare your heart and your family to combat tardiness? We often make the clock our enemy, but how can we use it to our advantage?
What scripture can we memorize during these times of hurried chaos that will calm our spirits and help us be gentle with those we love?