Attitude Changes Everything

After yesterday’s criticism of negative, gripey “Mommy blogs,” I read the last couple months’ worth of my own posts. I was chastened to discover that I’ve been pretty gripey lately, too. So this morning I confess it, and resolve to have a better attitude.


My negative funk began with Alex and bedwetting. He was wetting through his cloth diaper; every day I was washing off the reek of urine and changing bedclothes. It didn’t matter what we tried, he still soaked his bed. Then it started spilling over into the days—multiple accidents from the boy who’s been toilet trained nearly a year. I got angrier and angrier, and it seeped into everything else until my days were a series of battles—with Alex, with Julianna, with merchants, even with Christian. Everything suffered.


Last Monday, I left the kids with a sitter and went to St. Louis for my Ob appointment…by myself. I spent the drive praying for wisdom, for patience, for illumination…for willingness to accept the situation and adjust my own attitude. In the end, I discovered a residual trickle of peace running beneath all the negative energy. And I needed it, too, because when I got back to pick up the kids, Alex pulled out all the stops. But I kept my cool.


That night, I put him in a disposable diaper. In the morning, he was drenched, but his bed was not, and he didn’t stink. I felt the bubble of frustration, but I took a deep breath and got through the morning routine without scolding.


It was amazing, the difference this made. For one day, Alex clung to habit and caused trouble, but it was a light drizzle, not a roof-ripping thunderstorm. On Day Two, he was a new little man. More accurately, he was his old self. When my attitude changed for the better, so did his. The last week, we have been enjoying instead of battling each other.


I am ashamed to admit that I get into these funks periodically. Even though I recognize them, I can’t seem to turn it around until things reach the breaking point. Why is that? I guard against laying guilt trips, against playing the victim—yet in sidestepping one maternal vice, I land knee-deep in another. Will I never grow out of this? At the age of 34, it doesn’t seem likely! And yet, nothing is impossible with God. After all, He’s given me three beautiful children, after I had given up all hope of conceiving.


God, make me a better woman.