By MomGAL Expert, Theresa Robbins
Every mom with school-age children knows that this is the most wonderful time of the year.
It’s not Christmas or Mother’s day. This is even better.
This is back to school time.
While most kids haven’t started back yet, mine started in July and let’s just say that the first day was a little rough.
It all actually started weeks before that first day back. As much as I love my kids, I was happy dancing, daydreaming and turning cartwheels in my mind at the thought of having long stretches of uninterrupted-by-children time.
When the big day finally arrived, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. I awoke with a smile on my face, a song in my heart, and a glowing vision of how all my ecstatic joy would play out. I saw myself happily waking up my happy kids who happily and excitedly jump out of bed to get ready for their happy and fun first day of school. There they are all clean and shiny and we’re talking about how excited and happy they are to learn and grow. There I am hugging and kissing them good-bye as they climb into my carpool buddy’s van, everyone waving and laughing as they pull away, heading to that magical place of learning.
Oh it was such a wonderful vision…simply glorious, really.
But it wasn’t reality.
Instead of lots of happy-happy-joy-joy, my oldest son stayed in the shower an exceptionally long time while my 9 year old went back to lie in bed. I didn’t notice this because I was busy with trouble of my own. While making lunches I realized that I forgot to buy new lunch boxes (last year’s were lost), the yogurt was expired, and I could not find my 9 year old’s “special” lunch.
As I squared away a few things, my oldest walked into the kitchen. His pre-teenage-rebel-without-a-cause long and wild hair hadn’t been washed and was sticking up in every direction. His use of soap – questionable at best.
And I lost it… just a little bit. Just enough to harass him about his appearance.
As I wrapped up my rant, my younger son appeared looking a bit like a vagabond which has distressingly – at least for me – become his style. His hair was dirty, his clothes had food smeared on them and he was shoeless because he couldn’t find his shoes.
And that’s when I really lost it.
Without going into a whole lot of detail right here, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. There was yelling, insult throwing, blaming and shaming, and some punitive threats thrown in for good measure.
I’m not proud.
As I harangued my kids, awareness stole over me and settled into my conscious mind. This was not at all what I had envisioned. This was something else entirely.
I did my best to get things back on track before the carpool arrived, but needless to say, I wasn’t getting any of those happy hugs and waves goodbye. Instead I was left with an empty, hollow feeling where my glorious vision had once lived.
Where did I go wrong?
There’s really too much to fully analyze right here, however, one thing that instantly struck me was the way I started the day. Remember that vision? It was a vision which isn’t bad in and of itself, however, it required very specific behavior from two very specific children. When I didn’t get what I had envisioned, I lost it.
I had lots of “shoulds” about my boys’ appearance, about their attitudes, about their actions and behaviors.
Basically, I was all up in their jam.
If you don’t speak “hood” that simply means I was in their business, judging them, putting my expectations on them and I wasn’t taking care of my own business. If I had been, I certainly wouldn’t have lost it. I would have handled the situation by treating myself and my kids with love and compassion, dignity and respect.
If I had started the day with an intention of what I wanted of myself and for myself, things would have turned out much differently. It’s when you require something of someone else to make you happy that you land in a big, steamy pile of ick.
Remaining flexible and able to meet any situation with ease and grace comes from controlling the only thing you can … You.
It means knowing what you want for you without needing something from someone else.
It means setting an intention in advance so if and when things get a little wonky, you can pull it out as a reminder of what you want to create.
It means releasing from judgment of yourself and others to come from a place of love and compassion.
If I could do it all over again, I would do it differently. I would incorporate these suggestions. And I would get the experience I wanted to have.
Oh wait…I did do it all over again. After all of that, a big divine cosmic do over of the first day of school dropped in my lap just last week. My oldest son was accepted into a new school which meant another first day of school. That kind of thing doesn’t happen often so I decided this time, I’d make it count.
I did everything I failed to do the first time and you know what? It worked. It was one of the best first days of school I can remember. As we move into the school year and all it’s demands, you can bet that I’ll be practicing these tools each and every day.
I hope you’ll join me to learn more about rocking motherhood in your own unique way. On Friday, August 12th, I will be talking and walking members through this process to help you do what I didn’t on my first first day of