giving thanks

So the hours between 4pm and 8pm are my least favorite of most days. Pulling together a kid-friendly dinner that is almost never what I feel like eating myself. Playing I-Spy to get one of us to eat (you can only guess the item after taking a bite of food.) Bathing two during a time in the evening I am ready for a martini. Then it's the amazing 'race' to get them into jammies, brush teeth and put toys away. How on earth does all of this require 4 hours of our day?

Sometimes I transform into a Mother Who Knows and I fit something fun into the middle of that time slot to make it more positive. Like a dance party or ice cream or something to look forward to that doesn't feel like I am the family dentist pulling teeth at every corner during this 4 hour block of time.

But in reality, I am really The Mother That's Ready for That Trip to Montana; even if it's winter. My snow white voice got hoarse over the playful encouragement to eat broccoli over an hour ago. So I begin to transform into Cruella DeVille, at least in my head. My body is screaming at me to put my feet up for a few minutes. But my mind is looking at the clock and longing for the process to be over with so I can put my feet up without jumping back onto them and pulling one or the other off the kitchen table. This is not exactly the best article I would choose to submit to The Ensign. But this is just how it goes sometimes.

The littlest tucked in by my desired time with even a few extra stories and songs. Then comes The Greatest Challenge of the Evening: the four year old. I take a deep breath and gently remind him for the 4th time what I asked him to do 30 minutes ago. I step away to sit down, which is never a good idea in this process. Because it is a process. Anything this boy is in need of doing requires hand holding and ample reminding whether I like it or not. Extra book time is the only collateral I have at this time of night and most nights it works to get him moving. Not tonight.

I calmly remind him of the consequences of not listening and suggest he kneel with me at the bed for prayers. He screams and shouts and scolds and pouts. I find snow white in my throat and convince him to kneel with me for prayer and through his clenched throat of anger with me he begins his prayer:

Dear Heabenly Father,

Thank you for this ebening, thank you for Jesus.
Jesus, please turn mommy into a pencil.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Looks like this process isn't going well for more than just one of us. So I turn back to my former life and think of how I solved things. Back when it seemed like I knew what I was doing most of the time and had a more level head. I remember the role I had in creating or adjusting processes. And the importance of taking a step back and identifying what can change in the list of things to do from start to finish and what parts must remain the same. I am determined to make this part of each day better so we can all go to bed with the peace and calm I want to instill in my home as often as possible. And I also don't want Jesus to turn me into a pencil.