I was doing the usual school pick up. Baby in my arms, toddler running free and my girls coming out hungry and tired asking me to carry all their bags. While I say hi to a few other mums my toddler runs off, my baby starts squirming and screaming and the girls starting whining, ‘I’m hungry, I wanna go home, what are we having for dinner, is nana and papa at home?’ Non-stop questions seem to pour out of them as I try to find my toddler, who I have to enlist the help of a few other mums to find and by the time I do find him my arm is starting to seize up from holding my baby. We start the one minute walk to our car and my 4 year old has a strop, throws her bags down, stomps her feet and loudly refuses to take another step, my toddler runs as fast as he can all the way to the car, my 5 year old starts crying because I won’t answer all her questions and my arm has officially gone numb from holding my one year old for a good 20 minutes now.
Could this get any worse?? Well…..then my pastor and his wife and kids all walked up behind me saying a lovely hello and how are you. Are you kidding me??? Really?? This had to happen right now? I said a quick hello and then walked at an excessively brisk pace to my car strapped in my baby, ran around inside the car to strap down my son, spoke very strong but quiet words to my oldest and got her in the car, said a farewell to my pastors and ran back, picked up my 4 year old and all her bags and placed her in the car while letting her know that she was not allowed to behave like that.
And I made it into the car. I felt completely shell shocked and traumatised. Did that just happen? What’s wrong with my kids? Am I not raising them right?
No matter how well we raise our kids we can never eliminate the inevitability of them being tired, hungry and grumpy at some point. But multiplying that times four and you’re on a whole other level of irritability! I have learned to come to school prepared for tired and hungry kids with a need to know absolutely everything that’s about to happen and an insane sense of starvation. But the most important thing for me to prepare is my spirit. Sometimes when our kids have a bad attitude it can very easily cause us parents to start having a bad attitude as well.
That half hour when I walk onto the playground to getting my kids home from school can be one the most stressful parts of my day. But I have found preparing my spirit on the way to school makes the coming home so much better. I can gain the ability to show love to my kids in the stress, drama and even physical struggle of this time of day simply by asking Jesus to rule my heart and mind. I always try to bring Christ with me on to the playground and by praying and worshipping on my 3 minute drive to school I can gain that peace and strength that can only come from Christ to put my ‘game face’ (and heart) on.
“Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless…” I Thessalonions 5:23
Do your kids have melt downs after school? How do you handle this??