The bomb sat directly in front of me, the ticking getting louder. I chose my tool carefully for the delicate operation of diffusing the situation...
"Justin, what can Mommy do for you right now?" His fury expelling in one long breath, he leaned in against me and began to cry. With carefully chosen words, I avoided what surely would have been a tantrum of epic proportion. What he really needed to know in that minute was that he mattered, that his needs would be met somehow. "What can I do for you right now?" goes a lot further than "What do you want?" through jaws clenched so tightly my lips barely move.
Now, don't read this and think that I gave in to an unreasonable list of demands. I try not to reward annoying behavior just to maintain a certain level of peace and quiet. But overreacting and yelling because they are disturbing my peace and quiet is not a productive response either.
Long summer days filled with nothing but fun begin to take their toll at about this point of the summer. At least at my house. It's a fine line between enjoying life to the full when school is out and creating an atmosphere of entitlement. "I deserve to have fun" is different than "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Exhausted kiddoes and worn-out moms are a tough combination, especially when tempers and temperatures are soaring. Remembering who is the adult in the situation will go a long way to keep things cool, though. I know that for me, when I'm feeling cranky and irritable, I have to ask myself why I'm feeling that way. Not enough sleep? Too much on my plate? I just really want my own way too? None of these are excuses to be ugly, but contributing factors.
I find that putting the spotlight on someone else's deal is a good remedy. "What can I do for you?" is the question that reminds me of the big picture. Christ was a servant-leader, and it is His example I strive to emulate. Asking that particular question helps keep things in perspective for me.
What works for you when the fuse in running short?