It’s time to go home.
I shared a post on my social media earlier this morning that said something about how our reactions to our children’s behaviors have more to do with a our emotional health than with what they are actually doing.
It was a humbling and thought provoking statement that made me pause and reflect on the job I am doing as a mum, especially over the last two years.
When I talk to my friends, colleagues, and other parents, the common theme is that we are not ok. Oh sure, we all put on this brave face and post pictures doing simple things together and talk about some of the positives that have come to be in terms of our family bonds, or learning a new hobby. Honestly, though, I call bullshit.
I am fucking exhausted. I wake up exhausted. I go through the motions of the day exhausted, I go to bed exhausted. I get up in the morning dreaming about the end of the day when I have completed all the things that need doing that day and I can mindlessly play some stupid game on my phone while I watch old episodes of tv shows I’ve seen a million times. I am so tired and emotionally over everything about the last few years that I can’t even invest enough energy to watch something new.
A lot of things that used to bring me joy suck the life out of me now. It all feels like work, with a few exceptions. I mostly just want to be left alone.
So yes, when I am reacting to less than desirable behaviors that my children are displaying, it has wayyyyyyy more to do with my lack of emotional capacity than it has to do with them bickering about video game controllers or who ate the last cookie. It has almost everything to do with me.
I try very hard to have enough self awareness and honesty about where I’m at to walk away when I feel all of the resentment and anger and frustration about the last two years bubble up and get directed at the people who are the very least responsible for any of it. The fact that they haven’t done their chores for the third day in a row without being nagged is something worth a loss of privilege or consequence somewhere, but lately it feels a lot heavier than it really should.
I actually understand and empathize in some ways with all the fucking people at the borders driving around with their upside down flags and misspelled signs and toothless grins. I am tired of feeling like I don’t have any control over what happens in my life too. I am tired of not knowing what will happen next and have to make adjustments and not being able to plan anything either personally or professionally. If I ever hear the fucking word “pivot” again it will be way too soon. I get it- you are TIRED too.
But like the sentiment I shared this morning about our reactions to our children- this all out temper tantrum that is hurting the people who have the LEAST to do with any of it- the reaction we are seeing in our country is more indicative of our emotional well being than it is about what we’re currently pissed off about.
I guess the difference is that when it comes to having a negative reaction with my children, I love them enough to try and be better next time. I understand that while they are doing things that I don’t not like, the only real control I have is how I react to them, despite every justification I may have for reacting poorly. I choose to do better, because that is what’s best for them, but it is also what is best for me.
We as adults need to learn how to have enough love and tolerance for others to understand where and how to direct our frustrations, and reasonable ways to advocate for change. Just like screaming at my children won’t change all of the factors that have contributed to my exhaustion or make any of it better in the long term, tormenting people who don’t have any say in policies and rules is not going to help in the long run.
It’s time for people to go home. Work on restoring your emotional capacities on a personal level. Rest. Learn patience. Choose love. It will all be ok again if we just fucking let it.