This morning I woke up to my only “day off” which means that because we are leaving for Disneyland tomorrow I really need to get the following done:
- Clean the house for guests arriving
- Pack for 4 people
- Change an outed light bulb
- Purchase pet food
- Grocery shop
- Get a sponsored post ready to publish
- Walk the dog
- Clean the liter box
- Make and clean up after meals for the day
In other words- I’m f*%k*#g tired. As parents, we do not get a moment to ourselves (that’s one reason I run.. my only moments). And a day off? Forget about it! A day off for us means we have less to do, maybe there are no soccer practices, ballet lessons, or birthday parties to attend– but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have work to do at home.
In most running training programs there is a scheduled “day off.” These days off are essential to becoming an efficient and successful runner. You need a full day to recover and rejuvenate, and to allow your muscles time to heal. In the race of Parenting there is no such luxury. You may have 5 minutes here, and 10 minutes there, but there is no longer a full day to lounge around, peruse the isles of a bookstore, or leisurely read a book by the fireplace. Life is intense and non-stop when you’re a parent, and sometimes even the most patient person can snap.
That’s exactly what happened to me this morning. In an effort to not do everything by myself (which leads to resentment) and to teach my children some basic independence, I set out on a mission to delegate certain age appropriate chores. My expectations might have been a little too high, and my “to-do” list too aggressive.
My children generally love to help, because in the past I have consciously made doing chores a fun game, and to trick them into thinking it was something special. Today was different. I was frazzled because my husband had to work, so I did not have his support like I usually do, and I started to get frustrated with my kids because they could not perform the tasks I was asking of them. I started to raise my voice and get sarcastic with them until finally there were tears, one hid in his room, and one accused me of being Miss Hannigan– the angry orphanage directer in the movie Annie (at least I taught them to laugh in the face of darkness- it made me giggle too).
After cooling down for a second, I sat down to write it out ( this always centers me) and the one who I brought to tears came up to me and offered his extremely wise 7 year old words of wisdom. With watery eyes, he said “Mom, being mean doesn’t do anyone anyone any good- you’re only making me hate doing chores.” Thank you little one for that delicious piece of humble pie. He nailed it, didn’t he?
I keep asking myself something over and over again, “why would you teach your kids to speak to themselves the way I have tirelessly worked most of my adult life to eradicate?” The answer of course, is to speak to them with patience and structure. But that’s easier said than done. Sometimes we get tired, we overbook our lives, we create more and more “to do” lists… Modern life seems to swallow us whole and spit us out, and I think I can speak for most parents… we’re tired.
So we take a deep breath and try again the next day, or the next moment, or the week.
Whether you are talking to yourself or others, your language and tone have a huge effect on the outcome. This brought to mind the image of a coach, parent, or teacher on the sidelines, screaming, spitting, and forcing their kids to perform to their expectations, and that is an image that made me cringe. I have seen this many, many times and it is embarrassing and heart breaking. I abashed myself this morning, but that doesn’t mean I can’t forgive, learn from this, and move on.
No one is perfect, and we all have moments that bring us to our breaking point. I am not saying that I will never not snap again, or that I need to put an overabundance of pressure on myself that I now have yet another thing that I should “NOT” be doing, but I am assuring myself that no matter what issue I am dealing with — my running, my husband, my life, and, most important, my children — being mean about it never helps. If and when those feeling do arise again, I feel more and more aware and extra confident that I know how to deal with them. The more times I lose my composure, the closer and closer I am to accepting that being pushed to our limit will always happen, and that I always have a choice, and that choice is patience and kindness. Being mean doesn’t do anyone any good and makes both parties feel awful.
[bctt tweet=”Why Being Mean Never Helps #fitfluential”]
Do you ever loose it with your kids?