I remember my mother talking to me as a child, about disagreements within the family – How sometimes my sisters and I would argue about something or other, and one of us would end up saying (like many 7 or 9 year olds): ‘I’m not talking to you ever, ever again’! The ‘injured’ one would be lamenting to Mum about how mean or unfair our sister was, and after she’d soothed us, she would then say: “The sun comes up again tomorrow” – meaning that tomorrow was a new day, a fresh beginning.
When I was older, she talked about how she never went to bed without saying: “I love you to my Dad” – even if they’d had a disagreement – she refused to take the emotion of anger or hurt to sleep.
I was reminded of this last week, when I went to a Joan Baez concert – a folk singer from the 60 -70’s who was performing in Hobart. One of the first songs she performed had a line it it which resonated for me…. it was: Every new day we have is another chance to get it right”. Now it could be many things… your relationship, an assignment you’ve been working on, or a handyman job you’ve been struggling with. I really like these sentiments as it’s a reminder that indeed the ‘sun does come up again tomorrow’, that yesterdays situation is gone and today is a new opportunity to move forward, to get it right. This also has relevance to parenting and the relationships within our families….
It’s important for us to move forwards from yesterdays stresses or woes, that we model that to our children, and that we teach them the process too.
We’ve all had those challenging days where it’s one thing on top of another…. the first child missed the school bus and you had to drop everything to get drive him there, when you’ve been just about to walk into a shop and your baby vomits on your shirt, when your toddlers have spent the day squabbling, and the dog has barked too many times. These are the days which really test us as parents, where we get to see whats really inside of us…. do we take a breath, calm down and deal with things one at a time, or do we explode, taking it out verbally on the children, the dog or the delivery guy who happens to turn up? If you are the latter, then it really is an indication of overload, of the need to take time out for you. I know that can be hard to organise, but seriously if you don’t there will just be more fire inside of you, which isn’t good for you, or for the family. Arrange with family, friends, childcare or trusted neighbours to have your children for a few hours or even a whole day! Do something nice for yourself – a walk on the beach, a whole cup of hot coffee in a cafe, a bush walk, a swim, a bubble bath – anything which makes you sigh and say to yourself: Ahhh, this is good, I needed this’! The benefits are amazing – not only will you feel fantastic, but you will come back to your ‘day job’ with a smile on your face again. This time off does not include an opportunity to catch up on housework…. that will not give you the same buzz!
Note that several of the things I suggested involved getting out into nature…. it is well known that a natural environment does wonders for us! It’s the calming nature of the natural environment, of what you can see and smell there, as well as the ‘grounding’ effect. It’s as if it recharges us!
When your children have had ‘those’ days, where everything seems to have gone wrong for them, and they are frustrated and angry… as parents we have the opportunity to teach our children how to handle theses sort of situations. Show them how taking a break and moving to a new activity can help. Show them how getting outside in the fresh air and going for a walk helps. Show them how to sit on a bush walk and breath in the forest smells helps – all very calming!
And, on the days when you’ve born the brunt of their tantrums and challenging behaviours, it’s really important that your child goes to bed with a hug and kiss from you, and words similar to this….. ‘Today was a really hard day for you. Mummy/Daddy loves you and I know that tomorrow is going to be a GREAT day!’ – instill in your children the concept that ‘tomorrow is another chance to get it right’… that the sun will come up again tomorrow!
Happy Sun-shiny Parenting!