Have you ever had one of those days where the baby girl has to be clinging to you or else she yells about everything, the 4 year old is yanking on the dog’s ears, you’re trying to get yourself a bite to eat – 2 hours after you fed the kids – while thoughts of things you SHOULD be doing for work are rattling around your head – but you keep dropping everything, your house is a disaster, and it’s taking everything in you not to sit down and throw a fit yourself?
Yeah – I’ve had days like that. Fortunately I’ve learned to slow down once I start feeling the urge to throw myself on the floor and scream – and be present. This lesson was learned after giving in once or twice and actually sitting down and screaming. I’ll admit that the screaming felt good and was a release of the built up tension in that moment, but afterwards it felt horrible. I had a baby looking at me like I’d lost my mind, a 4 year old that stopped dead in her tracks and was wondering whether to think I’ve gone mad or to fear me, and me seeing their faces feeling like a total ass.
Instead, now when I feel the tension building I stop. I grab a slice of cheese or any quick protein snack I can – my emotions are more stable when my blood sugar isn’t crashing – and I play with my girls. Whatever they want me to do. I am not getting any work done or house cleaning in the moment, so I push those thoughts out of my head and focus on enjoying my time with them. I look into my baby girl’s eyes and really see her – see her sparkle, her hunger for this connection with me. I see her energy change and she smiles and bounces and stares right back into my eyes. I ask my 4 year old what she wants to play and its usually some sort of role play game – that she directs – with her chosen dolls. We role play and Arwen walks to the couch and back several times as we are doing this. All of our emotional cups are filling and I can feel the day brightening and our spirits changing.
I remain present. I kill any wandering thoughts of what I need to do when we’re done playing, I put blinders on for my disaster of a house, instead I observe, take mental snapshots of my girls, what they’re doing, how they look, how they feel, smell, all of it. I stay present. I smile, I smile some more.
Amazingly my day has already turned around. I am doing what matters to me most.
This can go on for 30 min or 2 hours. It’s usually a need that shifts our focus – diaper change, lunch time, bathroom break, the phone rings – when this happens I bring the girls along with me and we carry on with the tasks of the day in harmony.
I’ve realized that the chaos that presents itself in my house is due to the fact that my mind is a million miles away. My girls sense this and do their best to bring it back. Arwen’s yelling, Eliana’s yanking on the dog’s ears aren’t to make my day worse or push my buttons, but cries for help. They need me present and calm. They are my little mirrors and I am their lifeline.