My day had been pretty busy, with 3 clients in the evening. I rushed home, picked up my daughter and grabbed a cold waffle, and rushed back out the door to get to my son’s game on time. I was stressed and frustrated.
But we were in our seats, with only a few minutes to spare. I did it.
Long day of work, yet still at the game on time. I was ready to watch & cheer.
But I was still feeling frazzled and unsettled from the busyness of the day, and the rush out the door.
My lovely 9yr old daughter sat quietly beside me as I squirmed in my seat, leaning and shifting with the plays on the floor. I began to sigh & huff under my breath – and a little voice said, “you are so stressed.” She mimicked the facial expression that she saw on my face – and I couldn’t help but acknowledge it, and laugh (she knows me TOO well!.
She reminded me to take deep breaths, we laughed at my stress and she came and sat on my lap. The world was right again, for a few moments.
Suddenly I’m covering her ears as I’m ‘cheering’ on our team. (Let’s face it – I was yelling at them to do better, run faster, get to the ball and… and…) I was disappointed in my son’s effort and being very negative about our team’s effort. I was stressed.
The car ride home was quiet.
The lack of effort & the lack of hustle that I saw from my son had upset me. I was able to at least remain quiet (which I’m sure was noted & didn’t feel great for my children) and not critique my 10yr old all the way home. A parenting win? Nope – not yet…
Once his bag was unpacked, and he was off to the shower I ‘released’ my frustration on my husband… in all its colourful detail and disappointment.
Why was I so upset?
I tried to rationalize that it was because he didn’t appear to try his best, he didn’t seem to be running his fastest or even really engaged in the game. Gently, my husband drew out a few positives and just encouraged me to let it go – because it was late and would change nothing.
When my son called me upstairs, I thought, “Oh, he must want to talk about the game and tell me what was going on with him.”
Walking into the room, my inside voice almost slipped out; “what was the matter with you tonight?”
THANKFULLY, my son got his words out first: “so we had that puberty talk in school today, and I got way too much information!” My stomach just dropped, my heart smiled, I took a deep breath and sat down with him. “You did? What kind of information?”
Even though it was late, we talked for awhile and my son was able to process his day with me. My son chose to talk with me about all of this ‘information’ and how he and his classmates and responded. My heart melted as he ‘educated’ me on all that was about to happen during puberty. He was happy, he was proud, he was insightful and he was honest.
He was not longer thinking about the game.
I was SO grateful, in that moment, that I had not blurted out my frustration and slammed my son with judgement and disappointment. This ‘puberty talk’ would never have happened!!
This was not a ‘parenting win’ for me – it was a fortunate series of events that stopped me in my tracks, humbled me and leaves me feeling more committed to being aware of ‘my stuff’ (feelings, spill over from my day, expectations, tiredness etc) and its impact on being a mom.
How many moments and conversations have I missed?
How many of those have been missed because I spoke first?
Those magical ‘open-ended’ questions are the key to quieting the frantic thoughts in our own heads, and extending a genuine heart to our children.
“Hey bud, what’s up?” “Hi there, what are you working on?” “You’re quiet, what ya thinkin about?”