I sit here completely depleted and defeated. The effects of the pandemic have hit me like a ton of bricks. My life as I have known it, has turned upside down, as like many out there. We have been fortunate that we have not gotten sick or have been negatively affected financially by the pandemic, but the world that we have known is no more and I feel completely lost in it.
When everything started to shut down, I felt a fear I had never felt before. Not for myself or my husband, but for my kids. What are they going to grow up in? How are they going to be affected by this? Will we ever see our previous normal again? I have found myself growing even more weary and experiencing a level of exhaustion that I didn’t know existed. And that is saying something after having 3 kids!
I have found myself feeling more on edge and being not so pleasant to be around. Feeling like a failure when I see all of the art projects my friends are doing with their kids on Facebook while I look at my kids eating McDonalds for the millionth time and watching obnoxious videos on YouTube because I am too mentally depleted to make a sandwich. I feel like I am a complete failure as a mom. Even more so when my daughter asked me a question that pierced my heart like a knife.
“Why do you talk so nice to that lady but not to us?” she asked. I was perplexed. I was just getting my coffee that morning, because my soul depended on it, and I felt I was just being my normal self. “What do you mean?” I asked her, because I honestly had no idea what she was talking about. “You talked so nice to that lady and your voice was so nice, but you don’t talk like that to us.” She replied. I let that sink in for a moment as tears started to roll down my face. “I didn’t realize that, I am so sorry.” I honestly didn’t realize the tone of my voice and here my little 5 year old recognized that I was super nice in my voice to the lady at Starbucks, but did not hold the same tone with my own children at home.
As parents, many times we get lost in the thick of daily, routine tasks. Meals, cleaning, groceries, laundry, and keeping the kids from fighting each other. We kiss boo-boos, clean up spilt drinks, brush our pets, clean up toys, wipe down toilets, and recycle. But what happens when we treat complete strangers kinder than we treat our partners and children? Now I don’t mean being neglectful, because I would move heaven and earth to make sure my children have all of their needs met before my own. But what I mean, is that, how are you talking to your children, and partner if you have one? Are you short and snappy, exhausted from answering the same question for the 10,000th time? Or do you speak with love and light to let them know all is right in the world?
I admit, I suck with my tone of voice. I never realized that I may speak kind to the lady in the drive thru but rude to my kids because I am so exhausted. Why is it that strangers get the best of us, and those closest to us get the scraps of us? For me, they are my safe place. No matter what happens in this world, I come home to my husband and children. But it’s not fair to them that they get the scraps of me. They should get the best parts of me too.
After wiping my tears away, at home, I got down on my knees and apologized to my children. That even though mommy is tired, that I am sorry for how I have spoken to them. I hugged them so tightly, told them how much I loved them, and promised that I was going to do better. Because it’s okay to admit you aren’t perfect. It’s okay to admit to your kids that you have made mistakes. It’s okay to apologize to your kids when you have messed up. Because it shows our kids that we are human and we aren’t perfect.
As I continue to navigate motherhood and what that looks like for me, my daughter’s words echo in my mind every time I speak to them. It’s a reminder that despite how I am feeling in that moment, my words have impact. They can impact them negatively or positively and I choose to speak kindness into their little ears. That no matter who I am talking to, that my daughter will never feel that I speak differently to her than someone else. I want her and my boys to know that they are most important to me and because of this, they will get the best of me, tone and all.