I had my day all planned out.  It was a busy one, but that was ok.  I knew where I had to be and what time, I even made sure I scheduled time to eat lunch.  The plan was get up, eat breakfast, chill a bit, open bank accounts, eat lunch, go to vision therapy, go to dance lessons, stop at the grocery store and then home in time to get dinner on the table.  No problem, did I mention I had the 2 younger ones in tow?
Well needless to say, this is not how it went.  The visions of this running smoothly and being lovely was turning into a bit of a train wreck.
Firstly, the bank appointment ran late. I mean we were just opening some junior savings accounts, how long could that take? It went from a 45 minute appointment to an hour and a half.  Really, an hour and a half to open 2 bank accounts????  Now we only had 10 minutes to get to our vision therapy appointments. Well, there went lunch.  Sorry boys, we’ll have to do that on the flip side.
No problem, I’ll call dance and move that over by 20 minutes, they’ll understand. So vision therapy and lunch went well. Whew back on track, only 20 minutes behind at this point and it was all fine.
Driving to the studio and we get caught in traffic, lots of traffic.  It’s 1:30 in the afternoon, why is there so much traffic? Of course, construction, so only one lane was getting through with about 2 cars at a time.  Forget this, I’ll take another route. That was even worse.  An accident on the bridge and everyone at a dead stop.  Geez, can I catch a break?
Well at this point my frustration level was not good.  I was now snappy, grumpy and impatient.  My boys were doing incredible during the whole day.  Unbelievable actually, it was me that was disregulated!!
They were using strategies that I use, but on me. “It’s ok Mom, we’ll get there.” And other verbal encouragement. The feelings inside me were irritated and my response was “Well it’s going to take us this long to get to dance and that’s going to make shopping late which means dinner will be late. If dinner’s late, were not going to be at the tournament on time tonight. Ahhh”. Plus, there’s the cost of that dance lesson that we are going to be incredibly late for or miss altogether, but that comment stayed in my head. They both stayed incredibly compassionate and “level” in the car, even though I wasn’t.
My brain was stuck, at that moment, it seemed like the rest of the afternoon and evening was shot. I had to get out of this. I knew I was having a “bad moment” and having a hard time getting past it.
So what did I do?
I made a phone call, told someone I was grumpy, frustrated etc. The other person, lucky for me, was grumpy too and shared some grumpy stories. Between the boys and the phone call this is where there was a turning point. The boys gave me perspective of where my attitude was at and that lead to me taking control of my emotions.
I made it to dance for my son to get his last 7 minutes in. The instructor was understanding and didn’t charge us for this lesson and drew us a map of an alternate route to take home. The route was great, which gave me an opportunity to talk the boys in the car about feeling frustrated and adults get “stuck” too. It was a great conversation. We made it to the grocery store and dinner was on the table early.
The timing of this day was perfect. It’s good for the kids to see us, as adults, have these moments and come out of them. It reminded me of what it’s like to be mentally “stuck” and a bit over overwhelmed.
We have many moments where our children’s brains just can’t handle one more thing. They’re overwhelmed and “stuck”. Sometimes I’ll try the strategies that I feel are best, but realize it may not be what they need. Actually, it may be an irritant.
What this made me realize is, during their times of frustration, I need to respond with compassion, offer them a helping hand and ask “What do you need?”.