I’m in the car driving to swim lessons and 3 out of 4 kids are scream crying. Hunter is upset because Zoe crumbled his paper (that he handed to her), Zoe is sad because Hunter is mad at him and Nova is just joining in because Hunter is crying. I’m trying to keep my cool and asking everything to take some breaths but it’s just so.dang.loud.
We make it to swim lessons and Hunter is too upset to participate so he sits with me while Zoe swims.
I’m just thinking to myself, once we get home it’s dinner and bedtime. Jacob’s away for the next 2 days so once the kids are down I’ll finally get a break.
But that emotional and upset Hunter I had in the car just continued to pull at my heart. A part of me wanted to yell at him and say “you don’t get to have your way just because you had a fit” and then get him to bed as quickly as I could.
Instead of letting that peeved part of me come out, I chose to lead with compassion. Maybe something happened at school? Maybe he needed to let his emotions out with us because he has to keep them in check at school? Maybe he needs more hugs and snuggles and quality time? Maybe he spent a lot of time working on that drawing Zoe crumbled and he was genuinely upset she would wreck it?
Whatever the reason behind it, I chose to take different route and started to pour into him.
When we got home I asked him if he’d want to sleep in my bed that night since daddy was gone. Instant yes. We ate dinner (so thankful I made enchiladas first thing in the morning that day!), then one girl at a time I got them ready and to bed.
Normally in that situation I’d send him to my bed and come up after cleaning everything up, but we worked on it together. He unloaded the dishwasher while I rinsed dishes. He wiped down the kitchen table while I put food away and prepped coffee for the morning. He picked up the living room while I cleared the counters. We talked and randomly hugged and it was just so special. We finished by 7:30pm and got ready for bed, face-timed with Jacob for a little bit then snuggled up in bed by 8pm. Yes, I went to bed at 8pm too and it was magical!
Making the choice to have compassion instead of correcting his behavior was so right. After my podcast episode with Michelle on positive parenting and connecting with your kiddos, I keep my mantra “connection before correction” tucked away in my brain. I don’t always make the right choice, but when I do, I know I’m on the right path. I can see it in my kids and it feels so right in my heart.
How do you handle those big and hard emotions with your kids?