So, I've just hit my ninth month of pregnancy and though this entire pregnancy has been plagued with hyperemesis gravidarum and this particular month happens to be my least queasy and unbearable so far, I'm seeing a terrible trend starting to happen as D-Day gets closer and my body becomes more bulky and clumsy with every passing moment--I'm grumpy. My temper is getting shorter and my voice is getting louder.
Now, I'm not the most patient person ever, but after 10 years of teaching school and nearly four of being a mother, I've all but mastered the art of calming my tone when my students or my daughter are making bad choices. I've learned to use relaxing tones when my little girl loses her cool and to ask questions that allow both her and my students to reason out the correct behavior for themselves when they are making less than ideal choices. I'm not perfect at it--I never have been, but I've learned to make it a habit. There are always those days where I say something more sharply than I had intended or dole out punishment that is heavier than the crime, but for the most part, I'm okay with my responses to the children God has given me to teach and to raise. For the most part, I feel that I do an okay job at being patient and kind towards them.
But I'm nothing like that patient Mother/teacher anymore. Currently, I'm miserable and uncomfortable and with that comes selfishness and grumpiness. If nothing else, my daughter is learning to apologize when she's in the wrong because I have to apologize to her two to three times a day. Poor little girl! She's so excited about having a new baby brother and she just wants to help me get ready for him. When I cleaned the walls in his nursery, she grabbed her own bucket and washcloth and worked right along side me. And she spilled the cleaning solution everywhere. When I pulled out all the old cloth diapers and started categorizing and stacking them to get ready for her brother, she eagerly grabbed armfuls of my stacks to bring upstairs, effectively undoing everything I'd done. And when we were opening the new infant carseat, she grabbed her little scissors and helped me open the box, and then proceeded to pull out every piece of fabric and cushioning to examine them, followed by the instruction manual. When we set up the baby swing, she discovered that it was a wonderful contraption and did her best to turn it on herself and to practice for her little brother by pushing it quite forcefully back and forth. Shamefully, all of those times I got impatient with her and spewed something to the affect of, "Bunny, don't touch that!" or "I can't believe you spilled!" or "You're going to break that! Can you just give me some space?!?!?" and as soon as the hasty words came out, I realized how unreasonable I was behaving and apologized as quickly as I could. "Bunny, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have yelled at you like that. Do you think you can ask me before you touch the diapers?" or "Honey, I shouldn't talk to you that way. I know it was an accident. You're being such a big help." A couple of times, she even hid under her brother's new crib because she was upset that I yelled at her, and if my belly hadn't have prevented it, I would have probably followed her under there to hold her close. Of course, there are times when a parent needs to raise their voice, but those times haven't been as often as I've done so in the past few weeks.
When I have days and weeks like those that have just passed, I think I find the greatest comfort when I think back to my mother. She wasn't perfect either--I don't know why we always feel we have to be. There were times when she lost her temper with me and my siblings. There were times she yelled and said things that she shouldn't have. But we weren't irrevocably scarred by this. She loved us unconditionally and these instances were more the exception than the rule. She was an imperfect person who did her best to raise her kids and provide for us not only physically but emotionally. I'm not ruined because she wasn't perfect. I feel absolutely and completely loved when I look back on how she raised me, flaws and all, and I hope that when my daughter grows up and looks back, she feels that her Mommy loved her unconditionally and that she was cherished--even though her Mommy was far from perfect.