When everyone is in tears,
My daughter, my son, me
My first thoughts are usually about my own emotions and struggles.
I just want to sleep. I have been up with this baby all night.
I just wish I could get a minute to myself. Why can’t I even use the bathroom without a child clinging to me?
She is making our bedtime routine so difficult. Why does everything have to end in a tantrum?
But, when I can pull together the clarity of mind in these moments,
And so I flip my thinking.
What is my baby experiencing right now that is making it so difficult for him to sleep?
Have I been present enough for my daughter today? Is she clinging to me because she needs my undivided attention and presence for a while?
What could be going on in my little girl’s world at bedtime? Is she afraid of the dark? Is she having a hard time transitioning from the day’s activities?
This change in my thinking, although it doesn’t always come naturally in the throes of tantrums, does two things: it pulls me out of my own (useless) self-pity, first of all. And, interestingly, having the compassion to get curious about what could be going on in my children’s world also, I’ve noticed, comes in the form of a question.
And whenever I have a question, it is almost always a cue to
start a conversation.
And so the tears become a dialogue, and I show my children that I want to understand how they’re feeling, and they learn that it is okay to express how they’re feeling.
All this, from one little word. One little mantra to nurture us through all that strife.