Childhood is meant to be carefree. Its meant to be full of play and laughter and creativity.
Some days I want to weep with the loss of freedom and simple pleasures. Our world seems a constant vortex of pain and death, angry voices and short attention spans, money worries and broken relationships and health issues.
Somewhere in the stampede of paying bills and putting food on the table and doing laundry and soccer practise and doctor appointments and vacations and over time , kids are jammed between the cracks, handed an iPad and told to grow up.
I know. That may be extreme. But things move so fast that i. just.can’t. breathe.
It’s one reason we are choosing to homeschool instead of doing the traditional grade school. I feel my blood pressure rising just thinking of getting out the door for school every morning. Maybe your blood pressure rises thinking of being home with your kids all day. Thats ok! We all have our own specific callings in life and one is not better then the other!
Living life intentionally is one of my highest goals. Its hard when you are running on little sleep, when the kids are screaming and the coffee is cold and the trash is overflowing. When the cat knocks over the plant and the toddler empties the cupboard and no one wants to take a bath at night.
Here’s something I’m learning.
“It’s NOT an emergency. “
Sometimes I need to repeat these words over and over to myself. Sure, the slap the kids gave each other was unkind and rude and the level of crying has escalated to a whole new decible.
Its times like this that I see a blank in front of me and all I want to do is STOP this craziness RIGHT now and I feel myself growing tense and coiled ready to lash out at the last straw.
But guys. Its NOT an Emergency. ( unless it actually is)
Breathing deeply. Calming myself before entering their chaos. Understanding that my emotions are all on a hair trigger and reminding myself to connect with my child before addressing the behaviour is what I’m working toward in these tough moments. It’s not easy. It’s intense and draining when all you want to do is scream “Shut Up!” and magically have the noise disappear.
Parenting out of triggered emotion never works well for me and I’m always the one who needs to apologize when I overstep the calm and lend fuel to the chaos.
One of the incredibly hard things for me has been bathtimes. My older sister bathed her 6 children every single evening for as long as I can remember. Every. Single. Evening.
I’m not gifted in that area. Bathtime to me doesn’t have to look perfect. A dip in the pool will wash sweat and dust off, right? 😉 Perhaps part of the reason we’ve struggled with bath time over the years is the fact that we had only a small shower stall when Kobe was small.
For some reason that I never have figured out, he always detested washing his hair. He likes being clean but any water that touched his face in the tub would send him into pure panic mode. It wasn’t pretty and I didn’t nearly handle it properly many times. It seemed so ridiculously simple to me to lay back in the tub and wash ones hair.
It caused a total panic for him. One night it all escalated totally out of control. I had made bribes and threats and practised the ‘no wash and the cloth wash’ and probably every other thing that good mommies should never do. Believe me. NOTHING worked. It was like a huge ugly issue . Every. Single. Time.
I was totally DONE. It had been going on for six years.
I decided this was it! We had a very intential discussion ( when both if us were calm) about how this hair washing thing had totally fallen part and blown out of control on our last try.
We decided together to try again. This time I would go super super slow. I would stop washing his hair at ANY TIME that he wanted me to and hand him a towel to dry his face. It would take as LONG AS HE NEEDED.
We entered it rather apprehensively. I ran about 6 inches of water into the tub, and he got in and laid on his back, his arms propping his body well up above the tub floor and his head tipped back a bit. Ever so gently I began running warm water over his hair and as I did, I spoke in a gentle whisper.
“Imagine you are on the beach in Hawaii. The warm breeze is blowing through your hair and the palm trees are waving overhead. You have your favorite pineapple drink in your hand and the warm sand is all around you….”
Guys. The difference was beyond astounding. He asked me to KEEP WASHING!! He knew I would STOP anytime he felt panic with water on his face (I did) . He was envisioning beauty. He felt safe.
The other day he swam down under water in a three foot pool and I stood and watched him in awe.
He lets me wash his hair. He goes UNDER water BY CHOICE!
Connection guys. Slowing down. Understanding the fear. Helping to control the emotion.
That’s why our kids need us!
Yes, I mess up often. But there is always an apology. A new tomorrow. Another way to say I Love You.
You are important to me. Your opinion matters.
You are my child.
I am here for you!