Two of my children are going home. This is hard and it makes me want to detach, it also makes me impatient and testy. They are transitioning home now, which means that they are spending weekends with their mother. This makes them super-hyper, they test boundaries, turn up their volumes , are confused, but it excites them oh-so-much.
The other day, we had an activity planned for the afternoon, a play date with a friend. I picked them up from daycare and as I was in the process of getting the baby out of the baby room, they were running around the hall - screaming, climbing on things, acting downright feral. I blew my top because we have talked endlessly, and they know about how they are to behave when I am getting the baby out of his room. I told them to forget it, we were not going to the play date. I was frustrated and feeling daunted about how they might behave once we got there. I had horrifying visions of wrangling those two while tending to the baby as well. They were so upset, both crying and pleading, I just ignored them and headed home. As I was driving, the Lord said, "Come on, bless them," and I thought: Well, they don't deserve to go - they did not listen to me, they have been acting horribly. Then the thought popped into my head: "Good thing you don't get what you deserve" and with that thought, I turned the car around, went to the Chick-Fil-A drive thru, got each of us a lemonade, and headed to the play date, and said nothing about it. And you know what? They were fabulous, and I had a great time visiting with my friend.
Hear this: I am not condoning not following through with consequences; but I will say: sometimes a little mercy goes a long way. There is a sweetness to not getting what you deserve and to second chances. Sometimes, you can flip the whole day around by loving them up and blessing them unexpectedly.
Also, I now pick the older kids up after the baby, he is heavier but definitely easier to manage.