It’s like, everything happens at Target…. Today, in Target… I was actually SOLO. Probably retail therapy-ing a bit. But also, necessities.
Whilst checking out the espresso machines…. I overheard a Dad not exactly yelling, but using a strict, stern, ANGRY tone of voice “talking” to his young daughter 4/5 years old about not touching the things and omg not knocking them over.
It is such a great reminder for me because…. I’ve been there. So tapped out. Being overly critical and just plain mean to my kids. I get it. We can’t all be shining stars all day everyday. But, in this moment I was reminder … to see myself in this tapped out, exhausted parent… and to realize it when it’s happening and to breathe. And slow down.
1. His posturing was huge, overtop of his little girl. (Reminder, kneel, squat down, get down on their level. Can you imagine looking up literally to all of the people in your world all day long? Not only are they physically bigger – and scary – but verbally bigger too. Slow down, Mama. Crouch down. Whatever big lessons I have to teach or share or vocalize will be so much more effective when I am eye level with my child. Having a CONVERSATION with them instead of -talking AT- them.)
2. If I would not be okay speaking to a friend, a colleague, a partner in the tone of voice, body language, or intensity that I am “talking” to my child ….. then I need to CHECK MYSELF. That spewing is NOT for my child to have to hold onto, carry, or process. It’s on me to check myself. My big feelings. My overwhelm. My shame stories. Myself. I am in charge of me. And if I can unleash that messiness on a young person… obviously I am tapped out in some capacity and need to tow the line -on myself- and reflect on what I’m telling myself; what I’m needing; and how to act from a place of kindness, intentionality, and love.
3. Take a deep breath. Seriously. Have you never knocked anything down at a store before? Never made a mess? Never had an accident? Let’s stop holding our young people to impossible human standards. Standards we, ourselves, are incapable of. Let’s be kind. Offer ourselves and each other grace and compassion instead of criticism and ridicule when doing Messy human things.
4. Yes, our children see the best and worst of us. I think it is natural. They are around us 24/7 and sometimes it’s tough. Of course they will see our highs and our lows. And that is okay. But it’s not an excuse to spew. I work really hard at acting from a place of integrity. Meeting my own self-needs is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. And when I don’t do that (fill my cup) I have no way of getting through the hard frustrating parts of parenting because I have nothing to give. I now recognize that of myself and work really hard to find a balance, fuel my soul self and show up. When I spew. It’s a red flag. Recenter. Refocus. Check in with myself. Breathe.
Yep. It’s not necessarily the spewing and disconnected CHOICES we make that are problematic (yes, even when it falls from our mouth or body language, it’s still a CHOICE)… it’s not OWNING them. It’s continuing on as if everything is right and okay when clearly, it’s not. In this REPAIR work we can acknowledge our own needs, communicate effectively with those we love, apologize for the hurt we have caused, let them know it’s not about them (even if they “did” something to make me freak out…. it’s not okay for me to unleash my big grown up power on them in any capacity, just because they hit one of MY buttons. It’s still MY button. It’s still MY work. Not theirs.) apologizing. Sometimes it takes explaining because their choice causes a trickle of reaction instead of response. And so, we later talk and PROCESS that. How could we have handled this situation differently? What are other TOOLS we could have used?
5. Recognizing and remembering we are all works in progress. Doing and showing up the BEST way we know how. It’s sometimes hard to remember, but it’s true. Generosity of spirit. I know you are doing the best I can. (Grown up and child).
I verbalize this out loud a lot lately when I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed, tapped out, and crazed by the multi-tasking called on me when parenting in a 1:3 ratio. “I’m only one person. I can only listen to/help/hold/do ONE thing at a time. I am doing the best I can.”
I have actually heard Lillian say this out loud to me when I am adding things on the clean-up to-do list. “Mom, I’m only one person. I’m feeling overwhelmed with everything you are asking me to do at the same time right now.”
6. I could look at this man and *tsk *tsk him for all of the things written above. But the truth is, I see myself in him. I see myself in all of you. It could be easier to condemn others when they are IN IT … feel self righteous because, at least I’m not doing THAT (whatever that is). But that gets us nowhere. It doesn’t help that person feel supported. Or feel open even to receive other tools. And it doesn’t actually make me feel any better about me. Because, under the skin and flesh…. we are all connected. And we are all just humans showing up doing the best we can with the resources we currently have.
I cried in Target after witnessing and processing this. Yep.
Because I could see myself in the little girl.
And I could see myself in her dad.
and I could see myself in the judgmental eyes of other patrons passing by.
And I could feel myself grounded, rooted….. and rooting for us all.
No one is any better or worse than another. We are just at different points in our journey. And some of us have more tools than others. And it’s all okay.
Seek to bridge the gap, not broaden it.
Seek to heal our collective wounds, not reopen them.
Choose love. Self love. People love. Community love. Brave. Fearless. And fierce love.
Let’s send more of THAT out into the world. ? -xoxo – Jessica
This is what the Messy Open House Movement is all about. Showing up. Messy. Connecting and processing the challenging parts of human-ing. We need a community space where we can come together, vulnerable and open to share the Real and Raw parts of partnering, parenting, human-ing. We are all at different parts of our journeys… but it’s okay. We are all inextricably connected. We belong to each other. And we need more #fierce #love #rebels to come together in vulnerability and courage to share our stories, our experiences, and connect through them. It’s therapeutic and empowering to SEE and BE SEEN. Nor the perfect FB photos or inflated better homes and gardens family fun lives …. the REAL stuff. If you want to get down and dirty with me – connecting through our collective challenges and showing up, messy. Head over to The Messy Open House Movement Page. ?