Confession time, sometimes it's not my kids who need the timeout it's me. Are you shocked? You shouldn't be. If we are honest with ourselves we all blow it sometimes. If you don't agree then either you are Mother Theresa reincarnated or delusional. I would lean towards the latter. Now let's be real. Have you ever completely blown it?
The other day I was having “just one of those days” and my daughter decided it would be a good time to teach her brother that spitting milk into your bowl is fun. I could tell you I calmly explained to them both that we don't do that, you know better, and you need to be the example for your little brother. But that would be a lie. That's how I wish it went down, but here is what really happened. Mommy lost it. I yelled at them both, put her in timeout, and very loudly said we don't do that?! What were you thinking?! You know better!?! Thankfully there was no mirror around. I'm sure I looked more like an ogre then a mommy at that moment. It was a surreal moment for me. I could hear myself yelling at them and I was thinking what is wrong with me? After her timeout was over, my daughter apologized, sat down with her brother, and they finished their lunch. By that time I had cooled off and realized, I needed a timeout. Of course what they did warranted a talking to and yes a timeout for her. My reaction though was a definite overreaction.
I went to my daughter and got down on her level. First, I wrapped my arms around her and told her how much I love her. Then, I looked her in the eyes and said I'm so sorry for yelling at you like that. Do you forgive me? She said yes and that she loves me too. I wanted to cry, how could I have acted like a monster to my sweet girl?
Parents carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. We no longer get the luxury to blow off steam when we want to and our responsibilities have quadrupled. That makes for a nice pressure cooker in our heads. In my life, I always seem to let things pile up inside, shoving and shoving until there is no room left. Then that proverbial straw comes along and breaks the camel's back. My problem that day, my reaction to them, had nothing to do with them, but with everything else going on in my life. It is wrong of me, of us, to take out our frustrations on anyone. What is happening in our lives is not their fault.
Now when I feel myself boiling, before I say or do anything I put myself in timeout. No joke. I go to my room or the bathroom and close the door. Yoga breathing and counting to 10 usually are enough to bring me back into focus. When we blow it, we need to be adult enough to go to our children and say we are sorry. They need to know, even as an adult, that you should always own up to your mistakes and apologize. No one is perfect, and try as you might, you are not a perfect parent. That's ok though, it's all a learning process. I'm still working on being the best mom I can be and at the end of the day that's all you can do.
Be quick to hear….slow to speak….and slow to anger
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