Your child drops their third cup of milk on the floor just after you've mopped the last 2 up. You held on to that despair and anguish you felt the first 2 times but this time, you're even later for work, your anger rises and you shout, 'Oh for FLIP's sake!!!' (or something to that effect) and your child bursts into tears, or yells back or completely ignores you and tries to pour themselves a 4th cup of milk. Later, you start to feel bad for yelling, you resent yourself for doing so AGAIN and wish you could stop. Of course, finding a way to stop yelling is necessary but ....
I watched female kiwi comedian recently and she was talking, in a hilarious way, about the idea of raising 'perfect children' in a perfect environment being the best way to totally screw up your kids. She suggested instead that you might want to give them a bit of a shitty childhood in order to create resilience and build character and make sure your children can cope in the real world. A bit like that Johnny Cash song about being, 'A boy named Sue'.
While I don't advocate for deliberately f**king up your kids (the comedian's words, not mine), she kind of has a point. My best parenting moments often come right after my worst. Maybe not straight away but definitely after I've had time to calm down and reflect and apologise. It's that taking time out to process and then the 'I'm sorry', where the greatest lessons for our kids - and ourselves - can be learnt. That's when I connect deeply with myself, 'Why did I yell like that - oh yeah, because I've had no sleep, I need to get to bed early tonight'. And then I connect more deeply with them, 'Can we have a hug? Now, let's play a game together.' In that act you're showing them that no one, not even you, is perfect and THAT IS OK! You can still love and be loved, apologise and be accepted again, accepted for your whole self, your true self. The one that messes up and apologises.
And guess what? If you allow it, in these moments when things don't go right, you're building your own resilience, your own strength of character AND you're solving your own problems. Every time you mess up - with your kids, your partner, your self, your health ('I really should've gone to the gym today'), every time you notice you're feeling angry at yourself, guilty, shamed etc then push pause. Take a moment to reflect on WHY you feel this way, ask yourself, 'Is it helpful' and always look for the learning. What's needed? An early night? Time with friends? Date night?'
Then apologise to yourself for 'messing up' and do what your kids do for you, forgive yourself, then go play a game or ....
... when you find yourself, or your kids, stuck in a FUNK. When you can't forgive yourself or can't move beyond that thing that happened or your own bad mood, just do something different;
PUT ON SOME TUNES AND HAVE A MAD DANCE
GET OUT IN NATURE, build a den, take a hill hike, splash in puddles
LISTEN TO A PODCAST, something uplifting like this...
WATCH YOUR FAVOURITE FILM (my go to's are Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe and The Truman Show)
DO SOME EXERCISE, try one of my workouts in my FB group
So next time you find yourself not being a 'perfect mum', remember, you're doing yourself -and your kids a favour. And at least you didn't name your boy Sue.
Wishing you Health & Happiness,