“Just do the opposite….right now, whatever you are thinking, just do the opposite…”
I was chatting with a friend who had stopped by to pick something up. It had only been a minute when the screaming from inside could be heard on the porch. Not the someone is hurt crying, which evokes a panic in any mother, but the screeching of two small people who just want what they want. They must think that their volume will determine the outcome.
I heard the noise and I felt the frustration building. Frustration fueled by the why in the world are they at it again?! The why do they do this over and over… The why is it when I have one minute of conversation time with another adult that they have to argue. Fueled by the why am I here, standing on my porch holding the door shut as my two daughters are screaming at each other while trying to pull the door open. All that. Building & growing.
I must have had that look. You know the one. When you can feel your heart break a little at the same time your eyes flash with the crazy frustration of parenthood.
My friend took a look at me and said, “Just do the opposite…”
I turned my head toward my friend, the snap of “what?!!” sitting on the tip of my tongue. What did she know. I was so tired. My girls were fighting for the hundredth time that day. I hadn’t had time to shower, I hadn’t had a single moment of peace. I was at the end of a very thin rope.
My friend gently touched my arm and said, “Do the opposite of what you are feeling right now…”.
I felt the tears well up. The opposite….I wasn’t sure I could.
I wanted to fling the front door open and yell. with as just as much volume as my 4 1/2 & 2 1/2 yr olds, for them to just stop yelling. I wanted to scream that screaming wasn’t necessary. I wanted to stomp and slam my way into the house with as much force as I could feel welling up inside me.
I looked at my friend.
She looked at me and said, “You can do it”.
In that moment I broke. I knew she was right.
She is also mom.
She could feel my angst and as all moms know, she knew that any negative reaction I was thinking of could only end in hurt feelings and more heartache. Sometimes we forget in that moment.
She walked back to her car. I stood there a moment. I took a deep breath and I quietly opened the door. I knelt down and I opened my arms. Both of my girls fell into them.The screaming stopped.
As my tears fell I finally had my moment of peace.
Looking back, I see that in that moment my friend had offered me grace. She allowed me to feel all my feelings. She didn’t judge. She understood and she gave me grace.
I in turn opened the door and gave my children grace. And with that I found peace.
In a single moment I understood that when we do the opposite of what we are feeling when we are in the midst of fear, frustration or anger, we are in turn offering and receiving grace.
For this, I am forever grateful.
So parents, give yourself grace. Share grace with your children & others. Breathe & just do the opposite…..