RESTORATIVE PRACTICES BLOG
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Ever want to rub out and start again? None of us are perfect. Quite the opposite. So here’s me, delivering workshops on parenting and managing conflict better with your kids and giving choices and meeting needs and showing compassion, and having patience and breathing and.... yep - not perfect!
I do not always get it right. I am not always nailing it. Sometimes I just haven’t got my plastic pants and superhero cape handy. This day at the end of last year was one of those days.
Little did I know when I rolled over and kissed my partner goodbye as he left for a two day business trip what awaited me. I thought I was organised. I thought I was prepared. But sometimes life just kicks you up the ass, pokes you in the eye and then laughs in your face.
Let me paint the picture. Traffic on the way to work - arrived late. Now just to let you in on a secret - my pet peeve is lateness - I hate it. Strong word hate - but I do. Anyway, it was one of those crazy day's when I didn't look after myself very well. I didn’t stop to pee, to have a drink of water, I barely registered inhaling my lunch, and I left work late. I picked my son, Jacob up from after school - late. (Did I mention my pet peeve?)
I got home to discover he hadn’t finished his homework at after school and now I'm starting to feel more than a little stressy!! Started to finish his home work with him whilst trying to get dinner cooked and one eye on the clock to get him out to Judo on time.
He was struggling with homework, overwhelmed and confused and I was too focused on timescales and not being late so I missed the cue and he lost it and ripped up the dictionary. (Not any old dictionary - the Mrs Wordsmith, beautifully illustrated, cost a fortune, dictionary).
I lost it. I shouted. He screamed. I slammed the dictionary on the table. He started to cry, I burst into tears, he howled, I howled, and somewhere in the middle of all this he knocked over the juice on the table - all over his homework which we had almost completed, and then ran through the puddle and sticky footprints across the kitchen and up the hall.
Because I was under pressure and made my priorities his. Who cared if we were 5 minutes late for Judo? Me. Who cared if we had to do homework when we came back from Judo. Me. Who cared if the home work book was a bit sticky. Me. Not him. Me. And it’s not that they aren’t important things. It’s that they weren’t the most important thing right then.
Putting my arms around him and saying “homework sucks, but I can help you” was important to him. Eating his dinner without rushing was important to him. Finding the word in the dictionary instead of a pile of illustrated pictures was important to him. Going to Judo and worrying about homework later was important to him. And nowhere did our priorities meet in the middle.
I ruptured our relationship that evening. But, and there is always a but. I also repaired it. He was so angry at me for not seeing him. And I was so angry that he ripped up the book that I loved (and paid a fortune for!) But I was the adult.
“I’m sorry I lost my temper and shouted Jacob, I said. "It was wrong of me, I should have noticed how hard you were finding homework and not rushed you. I’m so sorry I upset you and shouted.”
“It’s ok”, he said “I’m sorry I ripped the lovely book - I was so frustrated and I tried to tell you”
“I know, I’m sorry I didn’t hear you,” I replied.
“I love you mum” he said.
I burst into tears again. Some days suck but even when you rupture, you can still repair.