“You are responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel.”
I can’t even begin to count how many times I have told my children that quote, just this past week alone. It’s important to me that my kids know their feelings should not dictate their actions. (There is a line here: if you FEEL unsafe on the edge of a cliff, please use your ACTIONS to move away from the cliff). When I say that, I’m talking about their actions as a response to an emotion they may be having.
This past week, I realized how easy it is for me to preach that at my kids and then forget it myself. I was sick yesterday with sinus junk. Tyler was working. The three kids were bickering, per the usual around here😜 , I was underneath the dinner table sweeping the floor, fighting the urge to yell or maybe just scream for a good couple seconds.
Then I remembered that quote. After cursing my memory, that does so well at the most inconvenient times, I took a deep breath, asked the kids what the problem was, and helped them to figure it out. (I can’t remember what it was now, likely someone was writing on the wrong side of someone’s paper or something). You know, the important stuff.
Here’s the thing: I could have responded the first way I mentioned. What would my kids remember about that situation then? “When Mom is mad, it’s okay for her to yell. That means, when Billy makes me mad it’s okay for me to yell too.” Another example: (just for good measure) some days, I don’t feel like doing the dishes. (Actually almost every day-I hate the things) If the dishes aren’t done daily, with 5 family members, it piles up pretty fast. I would then have a much bigger problem than the fact that I didn’t feel like doing it at the time. I just made the situation worse. The thing is, I don’t want my kid to see someone who preaches things that I myself think I am exempt from.
Don’t get me wrong; I am human. I have had plenty of moments when I gave in to my first response. When that happens, I am quick to apologize. That’s another good learning opportunity because they will inevitably make mistakes. I don’t want them to be too proud to apologize when they do find themselves in that situation. It’s also good for them to realize even adults mess up sometime.
Also, I am a woman. Some times I cry for no reason, specifically around the beginning of each month. Tripp has come in and asked me why I’m crying. I will often give him an elaborate, insightful response like: just because I’m a woman and this happen sometimes! Look away Tripp! Look away! (You’re welcome to his future wife).
One last thing: if you do find yourself stumbling or having failed in some aspect, Press the reset button and start again. When you feel the urge to respond to feelings, take a deep breath, (say a prayer if needed), and deal with the problem. Feelings are not always indicators of truth. A bad moment doesn’t equal a bad mom.