Right now Grace is in a delightful self-feeding stage where her desire doesn't quite match her skill level. Foods like oatmeal, pasta, and rice end up more in her hair, on her clothes, in her highchair, and on the walls and floor than they do inside her. I assume she enjoys the squishy feel of the oatmeal in her fingers, and I try to not grumble when I clean up her aftermath. Babies and children go through stages--they learn and grow and move onto something new.
Sometimes I think that motherhood is like that. My children are learning things at each stage. Am I learning the things I need to learn at their stages?
Have I truly metabolized the fact that a whining, misbehaving child really needs love and attention?
Do I remember the words of a wise friend: "Your children won't remember if the toilets were clean. They will remember if you played with them."
Have I figured out how to give more compliments and praise than criticism?
Do I respond gently enough when they are really just trying to be helpful? Or when their needs to be a little scientist just collided with my need to make a nice dinner?
No. Grace is still working on feeding herself, and I am still working on my mothering skills. Chances are Grace will master the lessons of her stage long before I master mine. But I can keep trying when I fail, keep apologizing when I fall short, and keep remembering that Christ's Atonement is real and His grace is sufficient. Thank goodness.