One rainy Monday morning, frustrated tears slid down my two-year-old daughter’s cheeks before we even made it out of the bedroom. I coaxed her sobbing body into the kitchen, still insisting she wanted Play-Doh not breakfast, but she slumped to the floor seeing the waffles I made. Already exhausted from the morning’s conflicts, I conceded and made her oatmeal and after a few bites, her hungry belly and unruly emotions finally settled.
I applauded myself for keeping my cool—redirecting outbursts and making compromises when possible. I relaxed into my chair with my peanut butter toast and lukewarm cup of coffee, relieved my daughter had shaken the irritability out of her bedhead. I began our morning devotion routine, my mood and chin lifting as we made it through with no protest.
We always finish with her favorite part: Scripture memorization followed by a dinosaur-shaped gummy vitamin. It’s not necessarily the memorization she loves, but the dinosaur roaring that ensues after she claims her prize. I picked up the spiral book of verse cards sitting propped against our napkin holder, and she excitedly yelled, “I want a bite-a-men!”
I began with an easy verse she knows well, “In the beginning…”
She completed the verse through a mouth full of milk, only missing a couple of words. Cheering her on, I said the verse back to her correctly and asked her to repeat after me.
“In the beginning, God created…”
She missed the same words again. I was determined to end this morning routine successfully, so I continued the cycle of repeating the verse, stopping her after each incorrect word. Frustrated she was getting it wrong, whether out of stubbornness or ignorance, my voice rose as I continued repeating the verse. “Again,” then “Again.”
On the fifth try, she burst into tears and threw her milk cup to the floor. My shoulders slumped, any pride of holding this Monday together melted into shame.
I made my daughter cry while practicing her Bible verses. I am the worst mom in the world.Continue reading “The Better Parent”