Remember when you would pick your kids up at daycare and the teacher would tell you how sweet they were with the other children, and then in the car 15 seconds later they are whining about wanting a snack and pinching each other? People tell you they save their worst for you because they feel safe at home. And although that can just feel like a platitude to get you through toddlerhood, the truth is we often are at our worst with those we love the most.
Given my line of work, I have gotten pretty good at self-managing in professional settings. Even if people say things that push my buttons, I usually have the ability to either cover up how I am really feeling, or get curious and ask questions to help me understand their point of view more fully. But at home? Not so much.
When bad attitudes happen to good people
Recently, my girls and I had returned from one of our (many) summer adventures. We got home late at night on Saturday. My introvert self needed some quiet time to rest and recharge, but that had to wait as my relatives generously showed up at my house early Sunday morning to help me do some much needed yard work. After a few days of hard work with them (I mean 12 hour days of intense labor for three days in a row….my yard had gotten really out of hand!), and with some major work deadlines looming, I was really running out of gas. I came home one evening to find my house, which was cleaned that afternoon, completely trashed. The kitchen was a post-muffin disaster, there were chicken coop building supplies all over the porch and lawn (seriously, don’t even ask), the cat puked on the carpet, the girls both had friends over, and it was chaos.
With more sleep or a few extra hours of downtime, I maybe could have held it together, but as it happened I lost it. Completely, totally, lost it. I yelled about everything from the muffins to the chickens and everything in between. And you know how it is once you get going – before you know what happened you are yelling about everything you’ve been mad about for the last six months (or six years) and it’s a mess.
Bye, pause. See you later, think!
Fortunately, the girls had an event that night so I dropped them off nice and early, and went home to chill out. I did apologize for my lack of patience when I picked them up later, and of course all was forgiven and hopefully soon forgotten. Would I ever do that to a client? Absolutely not! I can’t really imagine a scenario where I would want to, but even pushed to my absolute limits at work I hold it together. But sometimes when we are home and know the people there love us even when we lose our shit puffs, it can all go wrong. Pause? No thank you. Think? Not today! I’ll just go ahead and ACT like the crazy person I currently feel like.
The truth is, we all have moments when acting thoughtfully is harder than others. We’ll talk more about being less than our best next week. Until then, do your best to be kind to your family! But if you don’t quite get it right, just don’t be afraid to apologize. They’ll forgive you!