I often have people comment on how calm I am. It makes me laugh (usually inside) because I am not a calm person by nature. My tendency is to react rather than respond, to over-react, to yell. Being a mother - especially one with many children - has caused me to calm down some, but I still have a long way to go! With each new baby, I "unwind" a bit more. I believe this is out of necessity. If I were as uptight now as I was when Alex was born 13 years ago I'd be in a padded room by now.
Last week was a breaking point for me. I got hot under the collar. I yelled - a LOT. I over-react to everything. All-in-all, a rough week. After a particularly difficult Friday (I COMPLETELY lost my cool with almost every child) I knew I needed help. Divine help, to be specific, was what was needed. And I "checked out" for a bit. I thought, I prayed... I calmed down.
Peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7) was mine for the asking! And I am relieved and excited that I was able to make it through not one, but TWO days without raising my voice to my children. I've been tempted, and my patience sorely tried, but I persevered. God is with me. He will calm me when needed. He will help me teach my children a better way.
I want to clarify here that I believe my tendency to yell and get bent out of shape is a genetic one (but one that I can overcome with God's ever-present help). It certainly was not environmental... my parents rarely (if ever?) yelled. In fact, when I was a teenager, it completely drove me batty that my dad could be so stinkin' calm all the time. One of my greatest "accomplishments" as a teen was pushing him until he actually showed some real strong emotion and raised his voice (we were doing a project together and it wasn't going all that well).
I continue to pray for an unearthly calm to surround me. Even in the midst of the chaos that is inevitable in a tiny house with many bodies.