We joke about our kids meltdowns and how embarrassing they are to experience, especially in public, but adult meltdowns are even worse. I would like to say I don’t lose my patience that I am always calm, collection and level headed, but I do have a very short temper. I have inherited this from my dad, or that is what my mom would say! I also have referred to this as passion at times, but at the core, I have limited patience and high expectations. Not one of my prouder characteristics, so I don’t like to talk about it, but am constantly working on it.
I was struck the other day talking to a dear friend about the challenges of parenting and I shared with her how badly I lost my temper with my kids this past weekend. I had an adult melt down, and it was ugly. It was one of those out of body experiences where I looked around and my husband and my kids were looking like a deer in the headlights at me, like what just happened. I had just had enough of that day, enough travel, enough whining, enough questions …just enough. I snapped, I yelled, I hit a table with my hand, it was just one of those moments as a parent, I am not proud of. I am sharing this with you for two main reasons, and I hope you are able to relate to and grow from.
1 – We are not perfect, we all have things to work on and we all make mistakes, we must claim our weaknesses and work on them
2- Stay humble, ask for forgiveness, ask for help and work on your shortcomings
As parents we truly want to be the best, for our kids, for our spouses, for everyone, but this is not possible, we will make mistakes, we will make them over and over. But our kids are watching, they are seeing the mistakes and how we react to those mistakes. I am publicly claiming this mistake I made, and I know at the core of why it happened, we had done too much. I preach simplicity, I know balance helps my stress, sanity and well being, but we tipped the scale too far, I had had enough. No matter the reason, my loss of my patience and my explosion is not justified, I was in the wrong. My kids saw my rather loud and dramatic error, I could see it on their faces and on my husbands face, it was an epic fail. My kids are still watching, they saw my melt down, and now the ball is in my court as to how I will rebound from this mistake.
I can’t take it back, the damage was done, but to start to repair the damage I believe honesty and humbleness is key. I apologized to my children, I was honest about how I felt and how sorry I was for acting the way I did. I don’t think my three year old got any part of my apology, but my almost 6 year old did. She saw my explosion and then she heard my request for forgiveness. It is not that simple that my kids will forget my explosion, but they will see the steps I am taking to remedy the mistake I made and I hope we can all learn from my mistake.
I pray that I don’t have to ask for forgiveness from my children very often, but I do believe we are all going to make mistakes, and we must practice what we preach. My children have to apologize for not listening, for breaking the rules, for being rude …you name it we make them apologize, so as their parent, teacher, leader, I must show them in the most honest way to make mistakes and to work to repair those errors.
My friend and I both shared with each other that we do lose our patients with our kids, but it is something very private and shameful so we don’t share. I am fully in agreement that it is not something I want to highlight about my life, but I do think that as parents, we need to understand our shortcomings, work to improve where we can and provide a strong example for our kids how to make amends and repair the damage from their mistakes. Our actions are stronger than words, and my meltdown was pretty loud, but I pray that my children remember how no matter what mistakes they make, they have seen their parents make mistakes, recover and know they can recover from their own mistakes.
As time passses this memory will fade for me, but for my kids it may not. I have many childhood memories of similar explosions, not only from my own parents, but from family members, friends, parents and even some teachers at school. Some of these make me laugh still to this day, but others have haunted me, remembering the feeling I felt as a young child seeing an adult lose their patience. In a crazy season of packed schedules, high expectations and too much sugar, I hope that you are able to relate to this post in a way that inspires you to know that you are not alone in losing your temper, but also inspires you to remedy the error. It takes a strong person to apologize, when you have made a mistake then to avoid the issue..