It was 6:00 in the evening and the beginning of Spring. Though it was a beautiful day outside, I had a day of managing my chronic pain, doing laundry, writing, researching, learning new skills on-line, and all the things I try to fit into my isolated homebound life as a Mum and Wife with a debilitating condition. But today of all days depression came over me like a dark cloud and though I tried everything in my power to subdue the feelings of loathe and anxiety it was beginning to take its toll.
Dad had left for work. My 6-year-old son refused to do his homework. There were trips to the bathroom, and squeals of ‘I am hungry’ even after being fed a snack. A 10 minute task had now gone past 40 minutes. His 9-year-old sister had done hers and wanted some of my attention too. But he was relentless in his nonchalance about doing homework at that time. I became livid. I started to raise my voice and make demands. At which point he began crying and I couldn’t stop my feelings of anger and frustration for a few minutes. I suddenly stopped and looked at him and said ‘I am so sorry, I know you are tired, but Mummy really need you to finish your homework, so we can all get to sleep earlier tonight. Remember you want to be rested for your performance tomorrow at assembly’. He looked at me with saddened eyes and said ‘Do you mind if I stop and eat first’. And I obliged and he did complete his homework 30 minutes later.
Sometimes we forget that our children are people too. As much as we are in the role of guardian, parent, provider, nurturer – they need to own their feelings and to be able to express it. Allowing them to express their feelings doesn’t mean we accept any form of disrespect but we teach our children to be able to express their needs and wants with confidence. And sometimes we need to understand that when we are tired we need a ‘time out’ too. So next time I will do just that.