We have to be willing to bend without compromising our role as parent if we want our days to go well. Or just a tad smoother, at the very least. I don't know about you. But this is challenging for me. When I plan my day, it's my plan and I can't stand change. Heh. Funny, I know.
If you didn't read my Wal*Mart story from yesterday, basically I ignored nap time and decided that I needed to get grocery shopping done. We didn't even get into the actual store before we were out the door and on our way home again.
In that moment of dealing with a screaming toddler, I could have chosen to be super angry and frustrated that she was ruining my plans. Let's be honest, a small part of me was. However, I knew that it would be best for all parties involved if we just didn't do the grocery trip at that time. After lots of tears and kicking, I got Amelia buckled in her car seat. Not even five minutes into our trek home, she was fast asleep. I knew in that moment I had made the right choice to bend and change my plans for the sake of my child. If only I had chosen to do that before we even went to the store.
We got home and Amelia napped for a solid three hours. I really did need to go grocery shopping so when Amelia woke up, we tried the trip again. I seriously thought I was going insane. But there was something that made me feel like I needed to use this as a teaching moment and just go. I was so nervous about having to deal with the same scene as earlier that day. Even in that, to the store we drove.
I parked our van and calmly turned around in my seat. I responded with, "Amelia, do you remember what happened earlier today? We had to leave because you were so upset. So before we go in, let's figure out what we will do."
Amelia said, "Ok, Mama. I walk." She had just turned two, by the way... juuuuust turned two.
So then I told her, "I think it would be really fun and safe if you rode in the cart. Walking is not an option at this point. We can go into the store or we can go home. If you choose to go inside, you are choosing to ride in the cart."
She thought for a moment and decided to go inside. We walked hand-in-hand into the store for the second time that day. I got our cart and reminded Amelia that she would be riding in it. She began to get upset and I calmly told her that going home was still an option. She immediately let me put her in the cart. We walked past the bench where I had put her in time-out earlier that day and Amelia said, "That's my time-out spot! But I don't need it. I'm riding in the cart, Mama!"
I was SO proud of this girl. We ended up having a fun shopping trip! And out of all the two and a half years of being a mom, that was a day I will not forget easily. If I had not chosen to be flexible after the initial meltdown, I would have never had the chance to help Amelia understand that I mean what I say when I am disciplining.
We strive to be consistent, honest parents. We want our children to know what they can expect from us. Not because we want to control them. But because they need that safety net. And Amelia was not the only one to learn a thing or two that day. I'm super impatient and get angry quickly. It sucks. But I saw how well I can handle a situation if I just press hard into the Lord and breathe. Lots of deep breaths. And tons of flexibility.
What are some scenarios where you've had to practice flexibility? Do you feel like you are an overall flexible person? If not, how can you improve?