Last week, the boys’ school was having their annual book fair as part of the Catholic School’s Week festivities. As we’re scrambling that morning, I told them that I would be at the school during their respective book fair times to help them decide and pay for the goodies. Turner immediately started jumping up and down with excitement as Tripp fell silent. I asked him what was wrong, and he gingerly said: “Mom, I really don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you can just send the money with me, you don’t need to meet me there.” DAGGER–Right through my heart. I mean, I knew this day was coming, but in 2nd grade?
I quickly reassured him that my feelings weren’t hurt, even though my heart was in my stomach. But, here’s the thing, I often fail to realize my kids have feelings too. How courageous of him to tell me how he truly felt and even consider mine while doing so?
So often, I get caught up in wanting to control every situation and emotion in this household, but I’m realizing I’m going about this the entirely wrong way. My kids are teaching me much more than I can teach myself, but I have to open my eyes and acknowledge their words, behaviors and feelings.
For instance, last Monday, Tripp hopped in the car after school with a sour look and an attitude from hell. I found myself getting extremely irritated and defensive with him. I began thinking: His dad and I work so hard to give him a fulfilling life, and this is how he treats me? I mean, really, what could be so bad in his world? Did I forget to pack his snack? Did he not have P.E. today? WHAT? I ask myself.
Now, I’m not condoning the ugly behavior, but who am I to diminish his day or how he’s reacting to it. When I’m having a bad day, I can guarantee you my kids know it. So, even though he’s a kid, he’s still a human being. He’s entitled to feel shitty, or happy or scared. It is not my place to judge those feelings, but rather accept them, be present for him, and remind him that he’s an amazing kid.
The problem is: WE MOMS ARE FIXERS…it’s in our DNA. So, when our kids come to us and are anything but happy, we turn into crazy-ass ninjas. But, we must remember it’s THEIR problem to figure out. We are just their spiritual guides that are here to listen without judgement and love without conditions.
I’m learning to quit taking my kiddo’s behaviors so personally, and stop, for the love of God, expecting them to be happy and carefree all of the time. Their feelings are no different than my own. They hurt and they laugh for far different reasons than me, but for very important reasons to them.
Believe it or not, our children’s spirits are immensely wise and will evolve exactly the way they’re meant to. I feel like the most valuable lesson you can teach your babies is that life is about the discovery of your authentic self. And what better way of allowing them to do so, than by letting them express all of their feelings, whether good or bad.
How will you be remembered?