With all the baby talk around here, it seemed somewhat appropriate that this mama would drop her calf yesterday morning, just inside the fence on the edge of our property. She belongs to our neighbor, but my girls "adopt" these calves as if they were our own.
There was much concern over this calf. Lots of checking in. Lots of reports coming in to me in the house. And a handful of stern warnings from me about nervous mama cows who need to protect their new calves. And the flimsy piece of barbed wire standing between you and that mama.
The patient nudging of this mama cow reminded me of where I was last week in my feelings about motherhood. I found myself in another season of feeling at the end of my rope. Feeling like nothing I was saying or doing was making a difference. Feeling like I somehow was failing at guiding my children in the right direction. Feeling like none of my children were inherently wanting to make the right and good decisions. Feeling like I had a house full of attitudes, that unfortunately and embarrassingly, probably matched my own.
I shot an email to my husband at work — what do I do? How do I handle this? What should I say to them?
He gave me a few ideas. But a few minutes later he wrote me another email. Just remember, he said, it takes a long time to train a child. It’s like doing the dinner dishes. I get upset at the girl’s lack of attention but they are slowly (very slowly) getting better. It will take time for them to get in the habit of doing the job with the right amount of focus. Then it will take a while for them to learn how to do it right. Then it will take a while for them to anticipate what comes next so I won’t have to tell them. But this all takes time.
I keep reminding myself of that first and last line. It takes a long time to guide and train my children. This all takes time.
Telling them once, doesn't equal a change in heart or an automatic change in the way they do things. They need to be reminded. Reminded again. Taught. Shown. Guided. Encouraged. And reminded again.
Change comes. But it often comes slowly. Much more slowly than I'm willing to allow. But it does come, and is coming, if I look closely.
If I give up, get frustrated, get angry, then no one is learning anything except the wrong way to handle a situation that requires resilience and endurance. And I wonder why I'm not seeing any change.
But the changes are there.
They're not leaving the sofa cushions on the floor when they're done.
The boots are (generally) making it back into the boot box.
She's trying to walk away from the situation instead of reacting in anger.
They're drying the dishes without complaining and reminding.
She's talking it out with her sister, before raising her voice. Sometimes.
This all takes times.
It is the mantra that breathes an extra portion of patience into my mothering.