Yesterday we went shopping for back-to-school supplies. Thanks to the organization of our local office supply store, the shopping was super easy. We all went together, husband included. While the kids were checking out the video game/Ipad-mini display in the store, my husband and I split up and hit the lists. I was always (98% of the time) within eyesight of the children, and kept passing them as I gathered ridiculous amounts of supplies for my grade-schoolers.
Aside from some grumbling from “He who pays for school supplies” about the amount and cost of things, the shopping trip was easy, and fast. As we sauntered out of the store, I thought to myself, “that went so smoothly…CREEPY smooth”
Later that night, I was tucking my 8-year-old in to bed, and having a little chat and snuggle, when he said the words that make a Mom’s heart stop:
“Mom, I need to tell you something. You are going to be mad”.
If this has ever happened to you, you know that the moment between those spoken words and the next ones is TORTURE…
I took a deep breath (my first in several minutes), and asked
“what is it?”
Reaching under his pillow, he pulled out a tiny container of those post-it notes, the ones that say “Sign here” with an arrow.
“I stole these Mom”.
After the initial rush of disappointment, I realized I was proud of him for telling the truth, and I told him so. And I was so grateful in my own mind that he trusted me enough to confide in me.
I left the room to tell my husband, and brief him on what had just happened. You see, my husband is in law enforcement, so this is a touchy subject. But it was at this moment in the hallway outside my son’s bedroom, when my heart went from feeling this terrible sense of dread (that my son was a felon and my husband was going to FLIP OUT) to realizing that it was going to be OK.
In that dark hallway, we quietly exchanged words. I asked my husband not to yell. He nodded knowingly. We went back in together, and I let my husband take the lead on this one (because this is his area of expertise). We talked quietly about consequences to actions. Our son listened. We made a plan to return the item the next day, we hugged our biggest boy, and left the room.
YES! We got it right for once. At that moment, I was so relieved and thankful, because we have made such a mess of so many parenting scenarios before, and I am sure we will make many more mistakes and messes. But not that night. We were united, patient, and parenting from a place of love, not controlling and condemning our child.
As parents we were lacking the confidence in ourselves to handle these “big” issues. I realize now that when I yell in a parenting situation, I do so because I am scared about my parenting ability. I don’t feel equipped to handle the situation, so I panic and revert to childish reaction. This situation with the “office supply store theft” has taught me that I can BE that calm, but stern parent, and that my husband and I are stronger when we support each other.
Eight years into this parenting thing, and I feel like I finally had my first “ah-ha!” moment. Now I know what it FEELS like to get it right. You can read all the books on parenting, and still have difficulty getting it right. Obviously.
But it’s like learning to water-ski. Once you get up out of the water that first time, you always know how it feels, so you get it right (almost) every time after.
Silly Mama recommends you go check out the coolest “back-to-play-school” clothes www.sillysouls.com