|This was me|
So… last night I lost it.
The boys were getting really riled up after a rainy day spent inside, they were getting louder and louder in the bathroom—where they were supposed to be brushing their teeth before bed. I had a headache that was making the dim light in their room feel like a spotlight and I could feel Jesse getting stressed by the wall-vibrating ever increasing volume.
Then I snapped.
I yelled for them to be quiet.
And Liam started laughing.
Then I screamed for quiet... and got exactly what I asked for.
I walked out of the room, Jesse helped them to brush their teeth in silence. I took a few deep breaths, then walked back in. I helped with PJs, read stories, sang songs and gave out goodnight kisses in a trance. Then as I was lying in bed, the self-loathing that can only come with knowing you’ve done something wrong, settled over me like a wool blanket on 100 degree day. I felt the ache build in my heart… it wasn’t their fault, they were being kids, noisy kids for sure, but just kids.
I should have said something else, should have done something else…
And Liam only laughed because he doesn’t always read situations correctly, he doesn’t react “correctly” to social cues all the time. I know this and yet, I lost sight of it in the blink of an eye. In the moment, he hurt my feelings. But it wasn't until I was reflecting back on it that I realized how easily another child or another person could misinterpret that reaction. If it can happen to me, then how will other people regard him when he makes a seemingly inappropriate choice? Suddenly I felt so protective and nervous for my boy as he navigates getting older and gains independence that I had to go in and check on him… he was sleeping peacefully, arms behind his head looking like a carefree teenager and I was struck by how much older he looked. But I still tucked him in and kissed his head.
Lying there last night, I felt stuck—trapped between my rock (these three boys that I am grateful for) and a hard place that is constantly changing as we progress in our lives. But I also realized that the person who pushed me into that position was myself and no one else, and it is up to me to ensure that my actions are not driven by anxiety or anger.
Now I know there will be fights, there will be crying, there will be time outs. But it is up to me to decide how I choose to handle each situation, because discipline and structure are essential but a kind heart is even more vital—for myself and my boys.