I’ve been a little quiet here for the past few weeks. January is tricky. The holidays are so busy with deadlines for work, cooking, traveling, presents. Then, come January, we’re worn out and lazy. We usually get sick. Going back to work and school presents more challenges than we’re prepared for.
This month was typical, and so I needed to take some time to sort out some stuff, which I’m still kind of in the midst of, which isn’t a big deal. Things tend to go back to normal in February.
I just wanted to take a little moment today to tell a little story. I was sick over the weekend, and lost 2 nights of sleep. Last week, both my kids were sick, plus there was a snow day, and a school holiday. I ended up getting only 1 full work-day, out of 8 whole days.
I feel like I took it all pretty much in stride, and stayed in a good mood, despite the challenges. Today was the first “normal” day since then, where all the kids went to school/daycare, husband back to work, etc.
You’d think I’d be in a fantastic mood, but I wasn’t. I was snarky and moody while getting the kids ready. Pretty much at the end of the rope, so glad they were getting out my hair, frustrated that they weren’t, already.
That happens. I’ve had a few friends confide in me lately, when they’ve had a rough moment with the kids, and regretted the words they said, the tone/volume of voice, etc. They are not alone.
When these women are recounting the story, I can visibly see the pain, regret and shame in their eyes, and it breaks my heart, because I can relate, and because I wish/hope they could believe that yes, it’s regrettable, but it’s going to be OK. Kids need love and patience, but it is OK for them to see that people have limits. If those limits are tested, needled, poked, or bashed over that person’s head, they are eventually going to have a reaction.
I always joke that kids need to learn that as adults, they can not just walk into a bar, go up to the biggest, toughest dude, and poke him repeatedly in the face. They will eventually get punched. We are talking valuable, life skills here!
While it would be wonderful if we could all stay cool and calm, and handle those situations with grace, it’s absolutely not possible to do that every time. Kids are HARD!
For me, when I lose my inner calm, the remedy truly begins with self forgiveness. I am human, I am tired, I will release myself from the chains of shame, because they just hold me back from becoming a better person. I take a half hour to do something that really clears my head. For me that’s meditation/yoga. For some that might be exercise, or a hot bath. Whatever lowers the stress and shuts off the constant chatter in the back of your mind, works. Tell yourself you forgive yourself, say the actual words, they’ll hold more weight if you say them out loud.
Then, any damage caused to the relationship with the kids can be remedied (a bit later, once the dust settles) by having a warm, open conversation. Let them know they are loved, let them know “why I lost my cool”, let them know you are human, and flawed, but you love yourself enough to forgive yourself, and them, and they can forgive themselves too, and tell them that everything will be OK.
And then, everything WILL be ok, and it might happen all over again another day, but that’s OK, because we can deal with it in a loving, productive way.
I hope you all have a beautiful day today.