I'm on the struggle bus at the moment (allergies have really got me in a funk!) and I lost my cool the other morning and took my sh*t out on my son, Julien. It was awful. And naturally, I felt like sh*t afterward.
It was over the littlest thing. Robben, my two year old, and I were laying in bed and as Julien was coming over to join us, I asked him to help me out by grabbing a few books so that we could read them together.
He put up a big stink...whined and complained about helping , said I always read to Robben and not him, and that he was scared to go by himself, etc. I just lost it on him.
I stormed and stomped like a child out of the room to go grab the books myself and when I came back I couldn’t even look him in the eyes. I was so pissed and frustrated with him.
He was crying at this point and tense and I could see by his mannerisms and his body language that he was physically scared of me and really upset by my behavior.
I got back into bed and started reading to Robben, and meanwhile Julien jumped into bed too and is crying in bed facing away from us.
He finally says to me, “Why are you so hard on me?”
Ugh. My heart breaks. Why am I being so hard on him? It takes me a minute to calm myself down and gather my thoughts and finally I take a break from reading to Robben and say, “Julien, I'm so sorry. You don’t deserve this. The truth is, it actually has nothing to do with you. I feel like crap and I’m exhausted and I’m taking my stuff out on you. And that’s not right. And I’m really really sorry."
I hug him and hold him and try my best to make him feel better. He seems to bounce back quickly (these kids are so resilient) and accepts my apology and we move on with our day.
My actions, however, stuck with me throughout the day...even the next couple of days. I regret how I acted and hate that I took my negativity and frustrations out on him.
Here’s the thing: It’s only natural that we are going to lose our cool from time to time. These little humans are here to push us and help us learn and grow and evolve and sometimes we can’t do that unless we are pushed beyond our limits. Sometimes it takes us getting to our breaking point to realize that what we are doing is not working, and it's up to us to be creative and find another solution.
What I think is most important in this situation is what happens after you lose your sh*t and how quickly can you recover from an event like this. How quickly can you admit that you were wrong and look your child in the eyes and tell them that you are sorry? How quickly can you forgive yourself and move on and say you will do better next time?
We all make mistakes from time to time. WE ARE HUMAN after all. It’s how you deal with the mistake and how you clean up your mess afterward that has the most lasting impression.
Own your shit and do your best not to take it out on your loved ones.
And when you inevitably do because you are human, look them in the eye and say you are sorry, and let them know that it has nothing to do with them.
And don’t forget to forgive yourself and let it go as quickly as possible. You are not doing anyone any favors by holding on to something that is no longer serving you.