I love all the posts about Facebook and social media in general where we are reminded that what people post are just a glimpse into their day. The perfection we see, even the vacation pictures, one after another, where everyone is smiling… those are just a few. There are surely 100 others of grumpy faces, naptimes avoided, drinks spilled, sand eating, falls. You name it.
But what we share are only the best things. Right?
Not for us. Of course there are bad days- medically speaking, and recently an integral part of our team, Addie’s PT left for another position and I’m really frustrated, but there are other times throughout our generally awesome days that suck. You know what happens when I drop a glass and it breaks on the floor? I say, “damn it!”
In fact, this happened, then a few days later Addie tapped a key and deleted my work. Another time she drew all over my leg with a marker and then in a library book with a pen she got from my checkbook (yes, I still balance a checkbook). After each assault on our otherwise awesome days, I came out with a “damn it.” Even under my breath, I knew she’d heard. “Darn it,” I would quickly correct myself.
But there she was. As she grabbed for my keyboard, I said, “NO, thank you,” and she spits back at me, “Damn it.”
Clear as day.
Hooray! I’d done it. I’d taught her one of the things I actually hate about myself. My language. It’s colorful, shall we say. And as the weeks have passed, we’ve worked more on “darn it” (for both of us), as well as just calming down about situations in general. A broken glass isn’t really a big deal, marker happens, Ctrl+Z can undo whatever you just did- including un-deleting what your toddler has just unwritten!
All of this really struck me as it reminded me of an awesome post my friend Wendy wrote HERE about hugging and not yelling. We can’t erase what we’ve done in the past, but we can certainly move forward. I myself am a yeller. Dave is calm, level-headed, and a problem solver. I am reactive and while I usually find my way, it’s easier for me to scream into a pillow before evaluating any situation- my counterpart does not explode, even into a pillow, and sometimes we just confuse each other. But when it comes to our children and how we want to interact with them and each other, we both agree that I need to find some zen and, in turn, perhaps he’ll find a fire under him in some situations.
So where are we now?
Well, gosh darn it, I can tell you that there are a lot more hugs around here. Between Dave and I and more peppered throughout the day for Addie, too. I love hugging on her, but there are days that I find myself in such frustration, that we both end up yelling at each other. I have found myself looking up from whatever I am doing (cleaning, setting up, cooking, working) seeing her face and realizing she just wants me. As I hold my hands out, she rushes into my arms and nestles her head into my neck. Her little voice purrs “I love you” and leaves little kisses on me… we’re both immediately calm. I love that moment- feeling anger and frustration physically leaving my body. Hugging her to get a result of calming the storm instead of yelling, creating a bigger storm and then ending in tears (both of us) and inevitably a hug to calm down. Going right for the hug has been the best move.
I feel like a better parent, damn it!
So, are all parenting moments perfect? Surely not. We have tears and nos and pushing (Addie not us!) and falls. There are days where we’re tired, nights where we’re wired, and everything in between. The moments we don’t share, but we embrace, cringe and learn from are becoming different for us. There are more times of saying “OH NO!” when something unexpected happens- there are discussions about solving issues, help cleaning, and hugs after. Taking the time to not only teach our children, but ourselves, better coping skills, is such an important part of growing up- something we’re never done doing, I suppose.
So here’s a glimpse into our life- the not-so-pretty and certainly non-worthy of a Facebook status update, glimpse.
How have you grown with your children? Have you thought about hugging and not yelling? What did you accidentally teach your child?