Today the showdown began over math. All we needed to do was review a few lessons and make the necessary corrections. It wasn't particularity what either one of us wanted to do it, but I needed to get caught up on my end so we'd be prepared for next week. I was handling it fairly well, but somewhere the line got drawn in the sand. Before long we were standing toe to toe, nose to nose. I was determined to patiently explain the math problem he didn't understand and he was determined to repeatedly tell me I was wrong. Although I was keeping my voice (mostly) calm and steady, my insides were starting to simmer. I pressed on and he stood his ground. Finally the simmer turned into a raging boil and I reached my tipping point. In anger I flew out of my seat without a word, grabbed my phone and proceeded to storm off upstairs. Yeah, I was mad - beyond mad - and I wanted him to know it. As I started up the stairs he was yelling at me, asking me what I was doing. I yelled back at him with a real mature, in-control response: "YOU are making me so angry right now... I'm going upstairs until I can cool off!" Yes, I'm ashamed those words left my mouth in the heat of the moment. Even worse, I stormed upstairs and slammed the bathroom door shut. Just in case there was any question as to how I was feeling.
As I sat on the lid of the commode, hot tears of anger stung the corner of my eyes. I was mad at my son for his behavior and equally mad at myself for mine. After the wave of anger subsided, guilt buffeted my heart. Was I teaching my child that it's okay to walk away rather than resolve conflict? Was I setting the example that it's okay to react in anger? I knew I needed to apologize to him, but I was having trouble with not putting the fault back on him. I wanted to go downstairs and say, "I'm sorry I acted out in my anger, but you really shouldn't have provoked me," or, "I'm sorry for getting so angry, but you shouldn't be so disrespectful." Just like Eve, I realized I was trying to pass the blame rather than confess my own sin. We were both wrong and I needed to say it. After twenty minutes I was completely recovered and I knew I needed to apologize and mend the relationship.
I headed back downstairs prepared to say, "we were both wrong and I'm so sorry for the way I acted. Will you please forgive me?" As I reheated my coffee, trying to swallow my pride and also make sure he knew I was no longer angry, my son came up to me and said, "I'm sorry, mom, for arguing with you. I just felt like arguing for some reason and I don't know why." I gave him a big hug and apologized for my own actions. Then he sheepishly added, "Oh, and I figured out you were right... you can do it (the math problem) like you said." I just smiled at my son, thanking the Lord for His grace. For the humility to say, "I was wrong; I'm sorry." For restoration and forgiveness. For two sinners living together, learning how to extent - and accept - forgiveness.
At times I perceive among the homeschool community this pressure to maintain a "picture perfect family" with children who are 100% completely godly and obedient. And if you ever loose it, then you are judged as less spiritual than the other moms. Do you feel homeschooling presents an additional challenge in this area? Homeschooler or not, have you had a "bad momma moment" that you saw redeemed? Please share your thoughts below.
*Also, check out Lisa Jo Baker's (author of "Surprised by Motherhood') post : "Ten Things to do Differently Before you Loose your Tempter."