Your children are watching you. Yes, that sounds like the synopsis of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Ooooooooh.
Okay, my cryptic opening line may have you scratching your head and reaching for your phone to scroll through Instagram. Sorry, Candice. I was having a moment. But now that I’ve pulled myself towards myself, allow me to explain.
The other night I realised that my kids were watching my behavior. In a nutshell: one of my kids let slip that they could see how annoyed I was “the other day”. I literally did a double take, because, dude, I wasn’t annoyed on that day. Maybe it’s just my face. Seriously.
But it got me thinking: maybe my spreadsheet brain (aka the way I run my household) comes across as being annoyed or angry all the time. When, in retrospect, I’m just trying to get chores done so that we can all chill!
But what do the kids see?
What do they see when I’m annoyed with hubby (even though I’m low-key not thaaaat angry). Or when the lady bumps her trolley into mine at the supermarket, and I give her a death stare. Or when I come home from work, ready to vent and end up speaking so much nonsense about my co-worker because she deserves it.
What type of “normal” am I instilling in my kids?
I had this revelation a few years ago that as wives and women in our homes, we set the tone and the atmosphere, to a large extent. I guess this varies from home to home, so I can only speak for myself but I do believe that as a mom and wife, you have the power to manipulate the energy in your house. And your response to a situation is the best teaching tool for your kid.
Last night, for example, “someone” (okay, fine, it was me) had forgotten to buy electricity (we have one of those box things). So we sat in the dark for like an hour. When the power shot off, I could feel that anger bubbling. Man, I was so pissed off at myself AND my Hubstopher, because he was meant to remind me to get the electricity token.
It was one of those moments of anger where I didn’t feel like caring what everyone else was going through. I just wanted to bathe in my anger, as if it were a bed of roses, and pretend I was Madonna.
But the atmosphere at home was already pretty somber, since we had to sit around and wait while Hubstopher drove around trying to find an outlet that was “online” to get the electricity token. And that’s when I had one of those “a-ha” moments where I remembered that I have the power to change the atmosphere in my home. This was a teaching moment. So instead of acting cray, I gathered my kids and we sang songs together. Literally, a whole karaoke experience, in the dark. It was the best time!
The night could have turned out so differently and I probably would have gone to bed hating on my hubby and knowing that my kids are walking on eggshells because mom is angry. Instead, they (hopefully) learnt a lesson in “taking da lemons and making da lemonade.” (Totally said that with a Jamaican accent).
Anyways, what’s my point? Well, I guess my point is that sometimes all we need to do is take a breath and ask ourselves: “how do I want this to turn out?” and “how can I positively impact the atmosphere in my home”. And, more importantly: “what do I want my kids to see?”