Some days it’s reality…a hard pill to swallow, but a very real one. The kind that you have to choke down without a drink of water, the kind that gets stuck in your throat….
Thursday night on the way home from work I did the ugly cry…
Before I left the office, I was having a conversation with a sweet coworker regarding our children and their behavior. The conversation covered topics like how I feel that my eight-year-old secretly hates me and my five-year-old has cried more in the last two weeks than he has in his entire time here on earth. They come home from school, they are snappy, and grouchy. They talk back and misbehave. They think, at times, that I am the most horrible person on the planet. They hear me, but they don’t listen. They irritate each other, and me. When all I want is to forget about the day I have had and I just want to play the perfect June Cleaver…. it’s like they know and they intentionally do everything they can to get my apron all up in a bunch. So maturely, after several calm and nice attempts to change their attitudes, I retaliate, I let their anger become my anger. I yell…yes…yell. I am not perfect. I get mad and I become an eight-year-old myself. My patience is shot…I just don’t have it in me.
As I turned onto the interstate to head home that day, one of my favorite quotes by Mother Teresa came to mind. “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.
I always thought I knew what that quote meant, but in that very moment I realized that I didn’t… I do now.
It’s how I’m showing up for them.
Throughout the day we are on our best behavior, we contain the anger, the sadness, the stress…. all the uncomfortable emotions from the day…we bottle them up. We spend our days making people happy, we finish assignments, take on more assignments, accommodate others, we are go, go, go…with a smile on our face, we just go, and do, and do some more.
Many nights I’m exhausted, irritated, anxious. I have spent my day giving the very best of myself to everyone except the most important people in my life. My family.
I don’t show up for them every time like I show up for other people.
I don’t – and I’m angry at myself for that.
I would never tell my boss to throw her salad bowl in the trash, and if she didn’t listen after the tenth time, I would never go on a rampage about how she never listens to me and how I always have to do everything myself.
I wouldn’t impatiently raise my voice at the person in front of me at the soda fountain filling their drink to hurry it up because I’m late and he is in sloth mode.
Just like they would never act at school, the way they do when they get home.
So why do I do that to them? I now know why…the same reason they do it to me, and sadly, the same way I am towards my own mother at times (sorry Mom).
It’s safe here, at home. These people, my humans, even when they label me the meanest mom in the world, they still love me.
You might not love me if I was cranky to you, or if I lost my patience, or if I started the ugly face cry in front of you for no reason, but they will…and do.
As parents, that’s how they see us. The safe zone, the place where the emotions from the most horrible day can be released…and after the tears, the anger, the fear passes…here we are…still loving them unconditionally. Unconditionally.
I realized that day that what Mother Teresa was saying was that we are all capable of great things. We can change the world, but we need to prioritize our focus. The love, the passion, the strength, the go, go, go….we can’t spend it all up before we get home. If we want to change the world, we need to save some of that up and take it home to our family. We can’t exhaust all that is good and loveable about us and toss them the leftovers when we get home. Who likes leftovers anyways?
For the last two days, I’ve let the house, the laundry, and the dishes go…and I’ve replaced it with snuggling. Everyone seems a bit happier here.
It’s going to be a struggle some days, but I’m going to try a lot harder to bring what I give to everyone else, home to my family. I owe it to them.