Yesterday was a bad day. It didn’t start out that way, but at some point in the afternoon, it slid sideways. Kid issues, pain from a jacked up back, the death of someone we know- by dinner time, I was done. DONE. I felt irritable and sad and just off.
And boy did my kids feel it.
I was short. Impatient. Annoyed. Quiet. They’re not used to that version of me- at least not anymore- and it was awful. By the time we sat down to eat, there was silence. And so on top of everything else, Mom Guilt over the atmosphere I had created was washing over me heavily. After dinner, I laid down with a heating pad on my back and texted each kid an apology.
That might sound lame, but that is definitely how we handle some things around here and it works for us. Sometimes it’s a little easier to say exactly how we feel when it’s not face to face. Plus, everyone scattered after dinner, no doubt, to escape me.
My kids were forgiving and gracious and understanding and I’m grateful. And as I went to bed early to put us all out of our misery, I promised myself, “I’ll do better tomorrow.”
Here’s the thing: It’s not that there’s no room for us as parents to be human; of course there is. Actually, it’s important that our kids see us feeling and see us working through some of our stuff (when it’s appropriate), but it was impressed upon me for the millionth time: My mood and attitude sets the tone for everyone- and it’s not a job I take lightly.
If I’m happy, they feel it and they’re happy, too. If I’m sad, they feel it and they’re concerned. If I’m mad, they feel it and they don’t like it. If I’m worried, they feel it and it makes them anxious. If I’m overwhelmed with gratitude, they see it and they take note. When I’m proud of them, they stand a little taller, work a little harder.
You get the point. And I know you see it in your own house.
Man, that’s a lot of power. And a LOT of responsibility.
And so when I woke up this morning, I knew I needed to regroup before the day got underway. I made coffee, wrote in my gratitude journal, prayed for myself, for them, for all of us on this journey together. I looked over some meditations to strengthen and encourage myself and basically re-center myself in goodness and positivity. And it worked. I woke the youngest and as we sat at the table while she ate breakfast, we talked and laughed the way we always do and I knew she was relieved I was feeling better today.
So I want to tell all the other Mamas and Daddies out there today: Regroup. Do whatever it takes. Make whatever changes you need to, big or little. Get counseling. Get medication. Get time away. Get a hobby.
Your kids need the best and brightest version of yourself.
They need you to man up. They need you to find a way to push through the bullshit of life like a champ. They’re watching you and taking their cues from you. And they’re modeling much of their own behavior after YOU.
There is no excuse. There is honestly no excuse. My back still hurts. Today will bring the usual crap any day brings. But the sun is shining and today’s a new day. I’m here and I’m ready and so are they. Let’s do this.