Thursday, November 1, 2012

Missed Busses and Inner Voices

My kids missed the bus this morning. The basement door flew open and they tromped down the stairs to tell me this, interrupting the last five minutes of my run and the climatic scene from the horribly violent television show I watch while on the treadmill. I was dripping with sweat, stressed by the awful scene on the television, and furious at the idea of driving them to school (15 minutes each way). This would send my entire morning in to chaos. I’d have to wake their little brother early and urge him to eat a healthy breakfast and pack his lunch without my assistance. I’d have to put on clothes over my sweaty self because it was near freezing outside. This would mean morning barn chores would be rushed. There would be no lingering over my tea and the Sudoku puzzle today. AGH!  

To put it lightly, I was angry. I snapped at them and verbally harassed them as I scrambled up the stairs and rushed around to set the morning in motion. The ride to school was tense. My oldest apologized and my middle child rolled her carefully made up eyes at my anger. Half way to school I realized I was overreacting on a huge scale. They did not mean to miss the bus. In fact, they rarely ever miss the bus. They get themselves up (more or less, but sometimes require their father’s assistance), feed themselves, pack their lunches, and get to the bus stop while I am either out on a run or in the basement on the treadmill watching the horrible (but terribly exciting) show that was interrupted this morning. I’d say that’s more than most of the 13 and 15 year-olds I know.  

Perhaps my frustration was justified, but the anger was unnecessary. I apologized to them for my words. I assured them that I knew they hadn’t meant to miss the bus. I praised them for their ability to get to the bus on a regular basis. And then I watched them head off for school feeling like the horrible mother I am for the sag in their shoulders. What a way to start a day. 

“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” – Peggy O’Mara. 

I hope that my weak apology erased at least a part of the angry words I showered on my children this morning. My words are haunting me and renewing my commitment to speak gently to my children. I can excuse myself easily – we’ve been trapped in the house for three days ducking Hurricane Sandy. But excuses won’t mean a hill of beans to a wounded heart. I messed up.  

Lucky for me, they are too young to move out, so I’ll get many more opportunities to speak gently and react more calmly to minor mishaps like a missed bus. I want my children’s inner voices to reassure them when they are worried and to encourage them when they are challenged. I want them to have confident hearts and compassionate souls. Their inner voice is what will guide them when things go awry. I hope that voice is reasonable, calm, and maybe sounds a little like the guy on the old AT&T commercials (what was his name? His voice sounded like molasses).  

I’m sure this isn’t the last morning when I’ll miss the mark. Undoubtedly, I’ll let life and my moods get the better of me another day. But at least for the rest of this day I will speak kindly. I will create an inner voice that is calm and loving and knows there’s nothing to be gained from losing it over a missed bus.

1 comment:

  1. Alas we all must be raised by human emotional, unpredictable, failable. It does, however, prepare us for a life full of dealing with them!! :)