I just put my kids down for naps and got a huge lesson in motherhood.

I’ve heard lots of jokes about blondes. I’m not a blonde, except when the sun lightens my hair, but at times, I have found myself just as ditzy as those jokes make blondes out to be. I’ve also heard lots of comments about how red heads have fiery hot tempers. I’m not a red head either, but I definitely have a temper. My reaction to just about any situation is anger, annoyance or frustration, which in and of themselves isn’t so bad. They are a God given emotion after all. That argument only carries me so far though because my anger often comes out in not so good ways-yelling, slamming or throwing things, or growling/grunting (a very unattractive sound according to my husband); pretty much all the things my toddler’s second favorite show, Daniel Tiger, teaches you not to do. His option, take a deep breath and count to 4, is not as satisfying though.

And that is where the one thing I probably find the hardest in motherhood comes into play-reigning it in; reigning in my anger, my desire to yell at the child who won’t stop yelling themselves, my almost knee jerk reaction to push away the kid who just bit my shoulder, my satisfaction I would get from throwing the pot that won’t pop the popcorn across the kitchen, the guttural yell that wants to escape from my lips when the stupid sun shade won’t hang right after trying for 30 minutes while the kids are trying to climb on the chair to “help” and whining because they just want some lunch.

Seriously, I have an anger problem. Unfortunately for me, Jesus commands in Ephesians 4:26 “in your anger do not sin”. I read that verse and my lungs deflate in a big sigh. Oh how I fail at this every day. However, sometimes instead of blowing my gasket, I actually lay my anger down at Jesus’ feet and beg for his patience, his mercy, his grace, and his love. Not because I need it so much (although I do), but because I have a little person right in front of me who needs it, and in that moment of anger, I have nothing to give them but anger. So I really, really, really need Jesus to fill me with his character so I can pour it out to my children.

Today, it was my eldest, my 3 year old, my little girl who may whine for a few seconds prior to naps just because, well, because she’s 3, but who typically goes down without a hitch. She’s my easy one. Not today though. Today she threw an all out melt down, screaming, growling (hmmmm, I wonder where she got that?), toddler tantrum. I was in the other room putting my not-so easy sleeper down for his nap and as I listened to my firstborn scream her head off, my anger started to build higher and higher, deeper and deeper. I was ready to go in and give her a real reason to scream. However, in the 2 seconds it took me to slip out of one bedroom (after my not-so easy sleeper went down easily and stayed down despite his sister’s loud protests) and into her bedroom, I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer (“Jesus, help me”) and reigned it in.

Instead of scolding her, which is putting it nicely, I simply asked her what all the screaming was about. Turns out, all the little person wanted was a couple of band-aids for her knees, which had a couple of old boo-boos on them, but which apparently needed something to cover the almost healed battle wounds. I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand why those boo-boos needed band-aids today when it happened days ago and why they needed the band-aids RIGHT NOW, but in her little 3 year old mind, she understood it and it made perfect sense. Yes, she went about it the wrong way and the whole situation was made worse from her being tired, but what a simple solution; band-aids and a kiss from her mama. Wouldn’t you know that once we put those band-aids on (which took way too long because she wanted to do it herself) she was the sweetest little thing and promptly said “thank you” and “good night”.

I don’t condone her temper tantrum, but Jesus wouldn’t have condoned my tantrum either if I were to have reacted to her anger with  anger of my own. It’s a lesson that isn’t easy for me to follow, but one that I need to be reminded of again and again. Today was a good reminder.