Practicing Parents

Begin Again: Mommy Needs a Stiff Drink

begin again

There have been some fairly harrowing moments in the past few weeks.  Moments upon moments.  Hours upon hours.  Days upon days.  Lots of screaming.  Shrill screaming.  My youngest seems to think that the best way to rise above it all is to let his frustration be known—-by screaming.  Repeatedly.  At the top of his lungs.  We are in the thick of “NO!”  Drowning in asserting his opinion, will, timing and prerogative.

Add to this, an older sibling with similar “vision,” “leadership,” and “creativity” with a perfect twist of “persistent” and “stick-to-itiveness.”  {Can you tell I have written report cards for much of my adult life??}  All of these qualities are attributes I long for them to possess in their late teen and young adult years.  But for now, it can be tough.

After picking up my husband for an impromptu lunch with the boys a few days ago, I let the infamous words slip out, “Mommy needs a STIFF drink.”  Our almost three-year-old had woken up on the wrong side of his new toddler bed and nothing seemed to be fitting his stringent needs.  Shrill screaming leaving old brother’s swim lesson.  Frustration over his train not working right.  Mommy using the wrong-colored sippy cup.  You name it, it was upsetting.

As parents, our coping mechanisms vary.  Sometimes it involves giving ourselves a time out.  Other breaking points call for a quick email or text to a friend for encouragement.  At times, scheduling a date night with a spouse to ensure opportunities for adult conversation and connection is of vital importance.  Lately, though, I find that when my tank is empty, when I am not filling up my reserves and connecting with God, my default is anger, quick heated statements and unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Despite my plea, do I really need or even WANT a stiff drink?  Often times, no.  Truly I am seeking a place of calm.  A breather.  Rejuvenation.  Being filled in a way that lasts rather than filling a temporary void or frustration.  I love a glass of wine at dinner or a cocktail when out with my girlfriends.  But in that moment when “Mommy needs a STIFF drink” escapes, I guess I’m really screaming out for a deeper calm and presence that comes from community and connecting with God.

We are settling into a new community and home. Miraculously, I found the beautiful print pictured above while sorting and unpacking. Its truth—Begin Again—was a gift. I have been looking for this little treasure for three years since our last move and was so thrilled to finally locate it. And now that it’s been found, Ms “Begin Again” will be going in a frame—-finding a place of importance in our entryway. To me, it is the gift and reminder that God extends a grace-filled hand to us. Even when we utter out words that aren’t really true, even after our repeated failures, grace is the reminder that we can begin again. Begin again each day, especially as parents that are prone to mistakes. It is our job, in fact, to model this for our children. To remind them that we all make mistakes in our words and actions and that we are fallible but rather than turning to quick, heated declarations, God promises us more than a buzz from a glass of wine. We are offered belonging, grace and a sense of true home and community.

Christine Gough

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One thought on “Begin Again: Mommy Needs a Stiff Drink

  1. Pingback: Begin Again: Mommy Needs a Stiff Drink | These Stones

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