“OMG just stop touching me and go to bed!” I snarled.
Her head hung down and she slowly walked out the door. Quietly she shut her bedroom door.
I felt like the worst mother in the world. Ever.
It had been a rough day. Non stop talking, a literal running commentary of every action she takes or thought she thinks. The dog’s name yelled at least 4,587 times, the cat’s twice that many. An itchy leg in the car while we were waiting for her dad to come out of a store, which led to OMG SO ITCHY being screamed at least 6,845 times in 5 minutes, which led to her flailing her leg around and inadvertently kicking me in the back of the head. Smart comments, and general 9 year oldness…
It was all too much for me today.
As I heard her tent zipper zip in the other room (yes, she’s camping in her bedroom so far this summer), I realized she was trying to reconnect, to “apologize” and reach out after our bad day.
I sighed, realizing what I’d done… I’d created disconnect, and was about to end the day without connection, without a hug, without a kiss, without letting her know just how much she means to me, even though I seriously did NOT want to be touched anymore.
I went in her room, sat on the floor beside her tent. She slipped out under the zipper and slid into my lap. She pulled herself into a ball and just nestled into me. I hugged her. Kissed her on the top of the head. I let her be the one to end the embrace. I told her I loved her, and tucked her into her tent.
Then I went back to my room and started thinking.
Looking back over our day, all of the things she’d done, they were things she does every day. It really had not been a day out of the ordinary, so what was my problem?
I’ve come to understand, that my reactions to her really aren’t her fault, they aren’t “because” she does what she does. Yeah, it really really really seems like it at the time, and it’s pretty easy to justify my annoyance (see paragraph 4), but it really never is about her.
We recently had a really bad hailstorm. It was bad. We had a lot of damage to our roof. The check just came from the insurance company, which began a conversation between myself and my husband. We’ve been planning to do some renovations to this house (for like the last 15 years). Things have really come together for us in the last couple years, and it seems if we’re going to be ripping off the roof anyway, it might be the right time to make some of the renovations.
Earlier this week my mom had taken the kiddo out for the day. We took advantage of a kid free day and spent the whole day walking around the house, thinking, dreaming, picturing what it could be. My HUGE thinker husband started small, then the projects grew and grew and grew. It became so much more than a couple walls moved out a few more feet, it had turned into a complete remodel of the entire first floor.
I was really excited! I mean, one of my “goals for the year” was to create a living space I loved. My dream was coming true.
So what’s my problem?
The day we took possession of this house my husband tore out a half wall between the kitchen and the dining room. The hole into the basement where that wall once stood stayed there for a decade. (no I’m not exaggerating, in fact it was more than a decade, I was being generous). We set the refrigerator over the hole and moved on.
We gutted the upstairs and remodeled, oh, 12 years ago or so… the bathroom is still unfinished. Granted the two bedrooms are gorgeous, and are my favorite rooms in the house, but there are definitely things that aren’t done upstairs to this day.
Now he wants to take apart all the “living” space. I worry it won’t ever get put back together. I worry it will never be finished. I worry. A lot.
Ahhhh… now we’re getting somewhere.
What happens when I worry and revert to my anxious self?
I get snappy, agitated, easily disturbed, overwhelmed easily, my patience is short, I hold grudges longer.
Well, there you have it. Yep. That about explains our day.
It had nothing to do with my kiddo. She was being her same old self.
Me… I had reverted back to “anxious Jackie”. She’s not my favorite part of myself, that’s for sure.
It sucks to feel this way, to be in this position, to lash out at the people I love the most, especially when I feel like I should be really excited about what’s to come. (I, ahem, wished for it lol).
What’s wonderful though… is I paused. I created enough of a gap to realize what was going on. A few years ago I would not have done that. I would have gone on and on feeling anxious. I would have been snappy, it would have fed itself, creating a downward spiral. It would have been awful. But this time… I paused.
Now I realize what’s going on, and I have tools! Yes I do!! I have tools to manage these feelings, to help me work with them, through them, and overcome them!
I can stay mindful through out the day. I can remember that THIS moment is good. I can stay present. I can meditate. With my mala or just while I’m rocking on the porch swing. I can use EFT. I can use micro meditation or my 30 second ritual at any moment of the day. I can pick up a book that brings me back to a peaceful place, and reminds me of the tools I have at my disposal. A can journal.
There are many things I can do.
However, to be able to do any of these things I have to first pause, so I can see what’s really going on.
I must pause to create a space for a different choice.
I must pause to create a space to stop the knee jerk reaction I’ve used for the last 40 something years.
You’ve got to pause.
If you practice anything in your life, I highly, highly recommend you practice pausing. You can do it many different ways. All 50 of the opportunities I share in my book are opportunities for mindfulness, yes, and more than that, they are opportunities to practice pausing. It really is a learned skill, and with any learned skill it takes practice.
So… are your kids driving you crazy? Yeah, probably. But it’s also probably not their fault. 🙂
Take a pause. Look within, see what’s going on with you. When you figure it out, take action. Make a new decision. Find something to help you work through what’s going on with you. The more you do this, the more you’ll be surprised how miraculously your kids are “fixed”. 😀