But really, What Would Jesus Do?
Five seconds after a desperate prayer for patience spoken out loud, I let go of the steering wheel just long enough to smack my hands together and yelled louder than I ever have in my life, “SHUT YOUR MOUTH RIGHT NOW. NO. MORE. SCREAMING!!” The noise from my tires hitting the rumble strips on the side of the highway had me frantically grabbing at the wheel to get my car back on track. There was no break in my two-year-old’s hysterical sobs, and realizing that I could have easily gone off the road and gotten myself and my two daughters in an accident made it so it felt like I had swallowed a large spoonful of mom guilt—it trickled down my chest and settled in somewhere down by my navel. I felt sick that I had totally lost it.
Ellie had decided she wanted a sippy-cup of milk five seconds into the 35 minute drive home. I tried explaining that we would get some as soon as we were out of the car, but she wanted it, and she wanted it right then! I could handle whining, I could even handle dramatic crying, but her ear-splitting screams of “MIIIIILLKKK! I WANT MIlLLKKKK! AHHHH! MILLKKKK!” were just enough to put me over the edge…almost literally. After I got home and put the over-tired toddler in bed, I thought about how I could have handled the situation differently.
Remember when it seemed like everyone had a bracelet that said WWJD? What ever happened to those? What would Jesus do? Throughout my life, I’ve found that asking myself this question simplifies a lot of morally complicated dilemmas. But I gotta say, when it comes to parenting a stubborn two-year-old, I’m kind of at a loss sometimes.
Because I know Jesus wouldn’t have yelled at her. I know He would never lose His patience with such a tiny person…or any person for that matter. I also don’t think He would comply with all of her demands. …Like, when Ellie decides that she wants to stand on her high chair tray I know He wouldn’t be cool with that. And when she resists nap time or diaper changes or cleaning up toys, I know He would probably calmly instruct her otherwise. But then—what? Would she listen to Him because He is Jesus and continue to not listen to me because I am just mom? I mean, I play out this hypothetical situation where my Savior is standing right beside me when all of these things are happening, and I just wonder if Ellie would be as sassy to Him as she is to me. (If you know Ellie, you are probably thinking, “Yes, yes, she would be.”
I am so grateful that I can pray to Him and bare my mother-soul in that way---but what I would give to be able to sit down at my kitchen table with Him while the girls are napping and take notes on how to approach a two-year-old tantrum! What I would give to apologize to Him in person for yelling at one of Heavenly Father’s precious daughters. What I would give to hug Him and tell Him that I love being a mom—but that I am in constant fear of screwing up. What I would give to just ASK him what He would do.
I truly believe that motherhood is calling. When my oldest daughter was born---so was I. And just as she has grown, so has my heart. Never did I understand the capacity to love someone so deeply in spite of all of the ways they push your buttons. It’s impossible to think that such unyielding love comes from anyone other than Christ, Himself. It makes every single hard moment worth it.
Tomorrow I will do my best to make every moment a teaching moment; to teach good manners; to let all of my reactions be led with love instead of frustration. I will mess up, and when I do, I will say sorry and take comfort in knowing that He is watching over me and cheering me on while I navigate through this motherhood journey.
“Motherhood is more than a stage— it’s a lifelong calling from God. With it He gives us hearts that love deeply, hands that serve tirelessly, and vision to see His blossoming image in the precious ones entrusted to our care.”—Anonymous