I had a face-palm moment this evening. I’m totally spent. I’m the most tired and exhausted I’ve been all year, and it’s been an exhausting year. I feel like I’ve been super snappy and impatient with the kids, which makes them snappy back, and the situation always escalates.
Tonight, I was just too tired to argue. Anytime they did something that frustrated me, I just honestly didn’t have the energy to react. So I kindly spoke to them, and the response has (obviously) been a much smoother evening.
I know this guys. I’m pretty sure most parents know the theory, but the practice is hard, because parenting is a tiring and monotonous job. But then I likened it to being an adult in an adult situation, and what happens when you fight with your partner.
I happened upon this blog post the other day, that I wrote about a year ago. The general gist is that I was (finally) learning that the best way to deal with conflict in marriage is with kindness. Which is really hard sometimes when another adult pisses you off, you just want to give them the finger and tell them to get stuffed. Sure, a good old fashioned fight with some yelling and huffing isn’t the worst thing from time to time, but before things escalated in an argument with Frith, and before I got defensive, I started to really try to diffuse the situation with kindness and understanding, and pretty much every time, it was a winner.
And it’s the same with kids. Only they haven’t learned the latter approach. They are still of the screaming/defiant/stomping/crying method. It’s up to me as their mum to respond with (somewhat firm) kindness. Any time I respond with yelling/annoyance/frustration/threats, things escalate and I always have a battle on my hands to bring them back down.
Tonight, as I was feeding Julius off to sleep, the three kids came downstairs, and after Chance and Quinn couldn’t find me, they went to their room and started colouring in. I was waiting for Darby to come into my room and wake Jules up by jumping on the bed to keep me company, so as he walked into the room, I greeted him with a whisper of “Hey buddy! How’s it going? Would you like to gently sit on the bed and wait for me to finish with Jules, and then we can read a story together?”
The response? A whisper of “okay Mama” before he sat down quietly on the edge of the bed. That’s when I had my ah-ha moment. Honestly it was the sweetest thing. Normally I was yell-whisper not to disturb us, and he would always, in an act of defiance, jump on the bed, while I imagined him giving me the finger and telling me to get stuffed.
It is SO hard, sometimes seemingly impossible, not to lose my cool when things reach crisis point, but I really hope I can remember this evening, and that it serves as a reminder to me that my kids are just little humans that have to be taught big life skills. And now it’s up to me to do that.
My awesome foursome