MY perfect-mother halo slipped, then fell right off last week, so I popped it in the tea towel drawer for a couple of days and wore my faded ‘I survived last week of term’ T-shirt instead.
After throwing a couple of evening rehearsals, a late night and a big concert day into the mix with my three little girls – who were already end-of-term frazzled – there was bound to be some yelling involved. Not by them, of course, but by their energy-sapped mother.
When the cold sore developed on my lip I should have realised I was exhausted.
Somehow the ‘end of my tether’ just kept sneaking up on me and then, bang, I’d suddenly be launching into the delivery of a lengthy lecture about quarrelling, with lots of talk about everyone taking a deep breath and, ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!’
The tired signs were glaringly obvious in the girls too; a 10-year-old in tears over a difficult maths problem, an eight-year-old muttering backchat under her breath and a six-year-old too bushed to eat breakfast.
I kept thinking I was doing well, and then a simple request to shop for toys after school led to a rapid retort about the ridiculous nature of the suggestion, and a lot of advice on amending attitudes including ‘Most children in the world would be grateful for the opportunity to...’ etcetera, etcetera.
I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, even if you haven’t recently delivered it yourself.
My outbursts were uncomfortable and pointless. Even I wasn’t convinced about what I was saying because of the way I said it. It was my temper talking.
If you haven’t found yourself speaking very firmly to your children some time recently, it’s only because you’re relatively new to the game or such an old hand that you’ve no need any more.
Best intentions sometimes struggle against the pressures of raising a family.
It’s not as if the uproar involves insults or jibes; I am always imparting important information about values, expectations and behaviours – just in an extremely unappetising way.
The important thing to remember is, we are all trying not to raise our voices. In life it is so easy to do exactly what you don’t want to do, but there is hope.
I’m focusing on everything that is good this week and planning to give my halo a polish up so I can reapply it for these school holidays.
Wish me luck.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.