I've watched (or listened in the van to) The Croods about 30 times so far. I guess I can't explain the premise of the movie better than "it's about a caveman family that goes on an adventure." Anyway, a
family friend gave it to the kids for Christmas. At first, I wasn't a big fan of the movie, but after a dozen viewings or so I started to appreciate the movie a little. Now, I find new things to chuckle at each time I watch it.
Anyway, I was thinking (read: feeling horribly guilty) the other day about how much like a cavewoman I get sometimes with the kids. I know that I'm officially in Cavewoman Mode by a few things. First of all, everything is suddenly too much for me and everything is irritating to me. The kids asking me for milk; the fact that it's taking too long to find the matching bottoms for Gabe's pajamas; the way my jeans are too tight and too loose in all the wrong places; the guilt from knowing all the while that me--the heart of my home--having a bad day means everybody else will have a bad day by default.
I can think of a few other bloggers who could write about how scary they are during Cavewoman Mode and make it hysterically funny. I think if I tried to write about it, though, it would just be, like, actually scary and probably a little sad, so I'll forego further confessions/description and leave all to your imagination.
I was confessing/venting to friend of mine about how hard a time I have sometimes with things, and she counseled me to make it a habit to pray the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel when I am under stress and feel overwhelmed with the kids. (Yes, she is as wonderful and wise as she sounds.) So now, when I am feeling Cavewoman-ey and have the presence of mind to pray over myself, I just stop whatever I'm doing, sit down, and pray and rest for five or ten minutes on the couch, or if I'm feeling really desperate, anywhere in the house that is most quiet and where no little people can be touching me (why hello, guest bathroom with a door that actually locks).
Along with asking for prayers from Our Lady and St. Michael, I have made it a habit to pray and refocus with an awesome quote from St. Jane Frances de Chantal: "Focus on doing what God asks of you in this moment, and leave the thought of all the rest to Him." This quote doesn't need a lot of explaining, does it? What a helpful treasure are our holy saints.
A while back, I heard a talk about how Lucifer's response to God was, 'I will not serve." The priest pointed out that Satan frequently tempts each of us in areas we are naturally called to serve because of our vocation. That thought has stuck with me since then as being so very true for motherhood in particular. I think that it's important to recognize that it is powerful to choose our service each and every day. Literally asking God for the grace and virtue to serve well is so pleasing to Him.
It's when we let ourselves get swept away and overwhelmed by the idea that we have no choice that Satan can manipulate our thoughts to feel victimized, unappreciated, and unloved.
Back to the Cavewoman Mode confession, I did want to share that once I've returned to the 21st century from one of these episodes--and if I've been especially awful to the kids--I try to make the kids laugh. Laughter is such good medicine, even if it works for just a little while before somebody gets body slammed over a toy possession issue or slips on some mandarin orange juice from lunch. How the game works is I say, "Franco smile!" and the kids have to make their biggest, sparkly-eyed smiles--showing teeth is quite necessary. My favorite is when the kids have been crying or upset, and I prompt them to do a big Franco smile while they're still crying, and the sweet things just do it out of habit, tears and all. So adorable. My husband has the biggest, brightest, most infectious smile you've ever seen, so that's where "Franco smile" got started. Over time, we've added "spirit fingers!" and "show me your sweetness!" to the game too. The kids love it, and it's fun to have a go-to little game to brighten everyone's moods when things have been sour for a bit. I think I got this technique from my Dad. He always tried to make us laugh when we were in a sour mood or had recently been disciplined about something.
By the way, speaking of movies earlier, I'd love some recommendations of some good Bible story or Catholic saints movies for kids. Despite my appreciation for The Croods, it's time for some new material. We (read=I) love the Holy Heroes CD's, but my kids are really too young to enjoy them. I need some more age-appropriate CD's and movies (my oldest are four and two). We do have a couple of Bible story kids' song CD's, including a precious new Hide 'em in Your Heart CD Gabriel got for his baptism anniversary from his godmother. Especially with Easter coming up, though, I'd love to get the Franklets each a little something new (and good for their souls) to watch or listen to.