Chicago mom vows to be nicer for Lent

Without getting too preachy or religious up in here, I’ve been contemplating Lent. Specifically, seeing all of my friends make lists of their things to give up for 40 days has caused me to take a hard look at my own habits. I’ve found that, even among my non-churchgoing pals, doing without something for Lent has become kind of trendy. Left and right, folks are taking a break from sugar, coffee, swearing and social media. (Ah, the old “giving up Facebook” one. Straight outta Genesis.)

Regardless of what church doctrine may say, I’ve never completely understood the need to cut out something as frivolous as TV. And the whole “I’m giving up sugar” thing? That’s just called a diet. I feel like there are slightly bigger things in the world for God to focus on than whether or not I’ve eaten an entire box of Samoas. (Which I have.)

So, I’ve decided to take this Lenten season as an opportunity to better myself. Namely, I’m going to stop yelling at my children. (And as soon as I typed that out it made me feel like a monster.) But it’s more than just raising my voice. My goal is to stop losing my temper over their tantrums, really focus on who the cranky one is in each scenario and be more mindful of what we’re all trying to tell each other. Is this hunger speaking? Is Mama a tad under-caffeinated and over-worked? Has someone peed themselves? Basically, I’m planning to take a step back, take a huge breath and actually listen to what we’re all try to say- or yell- to each other.

I know I’m not alone in this one. I think we all want to be better, nicer, calmer parents for our [generally] deserving offspring. And as soon as I set this as a goal, I sought out and stumbled upon communities such as the Orange Rhino Challenge (being yell-free for a year? Let’s start smallish, shall we?) and became hyper-aware of friends’ tweets concerning how they’ve responded to their kids’ less than stellar behavior.

And this was the season to aggravate both parties; if there’s something stronger than multiple close-the-schools cold snaps to test the bonds of pleasant parent/child communication, well then, I’m terrified to know what it is.

Hopefully my venture will be successful and will last way longer than 40 days; I’m certainly not planning on popping out from around the corner on Easter morning to scream at my kids about chocolate bunnies. And Easter preparation aside, I think this will be a good thing, and will pave the way for what I want for my kids and family the rest of the year. But while I’m bettering myself, I should also attempt to drink more water. I think we can all agree that God likes people to be hydrated.

Hydration and calm voices . . . is it Easter yet?

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