Every parenting image you ever conjured up before children was blissful happiness. Kids playing contently, spouse washing the dishes playfully, household harmony and eternal delight. Right?
Open your eyes from that dream and look around…. kids fighting, an overworked tired partner, a to-do list as long as your arm, work juggles, babysitting juggles and a house that keeps getting itself messy… again.
So, is it acceptable to just want to scream? Or are we supposed to swallow it down like bad tasting medicine and plaster a smile on our face for the sake of the family?
There is one problem with ‘swallowing it down’. It very quickly puts a sour taste in your mouth and it eventually comes spewing out like a kid who ate too much at Sizzler (sorry for the visual!).
It’s not authentic. It’s not maintainable. It’s not fair – on you or your family.
Feelings really do matter and they need to be real. In the last few weeks I’ve looked around at kids lounging on the couch watching TV, their dirty cups and plates left with half eaten food on the table. The washing needed taking off, the floor was covered in dirt thanks to a puppy who had dragged in half the garden, and dinner needed to be started.
My instinct said ‘Hey! This isn’t fair! Why do I have to do everything?’
My guilty mother conscience said ‘Because it’s your job, suck it up… they only get one childhood!’
My angry wife conscience says ‘Lucky him, being at work and avoiding all this!’
So, which thought is right?
It’s not actually about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ because feelings cannot be black and white. I knew one thing for sure though, I needed to find a healthy way to vent these thoughts because they would explode soon if I didn’t!
I love Dr. Haim Ginott’s quote ‘If a child doesn’t feel right, he can’t think right’. I believe he wasn’t just applying this to kids! How could I be the best mum and wife if I didn’t FEEL ‘right’. I was about to spew out a whole heap of inappropriate statements that could not be taken back!
We cannot ignore the way we feel. We cannot pretend that everything is fine. Because eventually the cracks will show and the wall will come tumbling down in an almighty blow! Using this analogy, if we let a little bit of the wall down at a time, it makes it much easier to repair.
Sometimes just getting your feelings out makes the frustration that bit easier to bare.
Using this notion, I set into action saying…
“HEY! I feel like I’ve been left with all the jobs! The plates and cups have been left on the table, there’s dirt on the floor and I’m expected to get dinner started!”
Their reaction? With a look of ‘Mum’s gone mad’, they wordlessly got up and put their things in the sink and made an attempt to clean the dirty floor.
I still had the other jobs to do, but just letting a bit of steam off and seeing them take my feelings seriously allowed my wall to stay standing just a bit longer.
Feelings really do matter, not just for kids.