There I was. Standing at the kitchen sink scrubbing dishes and transferring them to the dishwasher. I was stewing. I was frustrated. I was letting my son’s actions affect me. It was overwhelming me and I could feel anger creeping up my back. I could feel it beginning to affect my attitude from that moment forward but then I paused and took a deep breath.
Detach. It means to disconnect and to remove from association of something. It’s the one thing in parenting we have learned that works but it is the hardest thing to do especially in the moment. My husband is way better at this than I am for the record.
As I began to see more of the bottom of the sink, I was simultaneously telling myself to detach from my child’s actions. His behavior had nothing to do with me. It was his frustration, his behavior and I just so happened to be in the room. I told myself to take a step out of the situation. Take a look from the outside looking In. My husband is wise beyond his years and always says to respond in most situations with facts, not emotions.
As I recounted what took place from a “fact only” position instead of my raging emotions, I was quickly reminded of one important thing: my kids don’t understand yet.
They don’t understand what it takes to live in this world yet. They don’t understand how to function as an adult. It makes sense for them to act up, make immature choices, say mean things, leave the toilet seat up and leave dirty clothes one foot from the laundry basket. They are sill learning and becoming. They are still little people in a big world. They need us.
A peace started to sweep over me. “This is why I am here“, I told myself.
This is my job. It is our job to teach our children what it takes to live in the world. We are so far from perfect at this parenting gig but we hold a very real and important role in their lives.
If there is anything I have learned heavily over the past year especially in the foster care process it’s this: our kids don’t have the capacity to fulfill our needs. Yes, they will reciprocate love at times but ultimately loving others, forgiving, and being kind is taught.
I am a words person so I thrive when I am appreciated and praised especially from my kiddos but my kids don’t know how to do this from day one. We have to teach them how to say thank you, how to say sorry, and what it looks like to forgive.
The journey can be so hard. We are not super humans as parents and sometimes you will find yourself leaning over the kitchen sink stewing in frustration like I do so often. You may even mess up and be the one to say sorry because you let anger linger BUT these moments can be turned into teachable moments. Our children need us to detach from our built up frustration and show them what it’s like to love and to be loved. I am preaching this to myself over here. Whatever and however it takes, we have to show up for them and fight for them when they don’t know how to.
Our kids don’t understand these things yet but I believe one day they will.