Learning What NOT to Say…
- June 5, 2015
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hello everyone. Welcome back to my Reflection Thursdays post in which I am reflecting on peace of mind, wellness, kindness, and being your best self… Thanks for reading! xo M
As a person, I would generally describe myself as the fixer type. I don’t like to see situations fester. Rather, I prefer to intervene, communicate, work it out, talk it through.
As the school year grinds to a halt this week for us, there have been several moments over the past week with my kids that have made me realize that despite the fact that communication forms the cornerstone of families, sometimes the best option with kids is not to say very much.
Why am I realizing that sometimes it is better to not say too much?
As moms, we know our internal rhythms so well. We know that feeling of being overwhelmed, stressed, drained, depleted. Sometimes you can be in that state and have a conversation put in front of you. My custom would be to just go ahead and have the conversation.
Yet I’ve learned that I have my limits. When I am in this less-than-optimal state, I am not as patient, not as kind, and hardly as careful with my words as I could be. It is not a recipe for how to stay calm in a sticky situation.
Therefore, for me, it is better to wait. Say something to address the situation, but put it on hold for a later time when my communication skills will be finer.
Case in point: today one child graduated from 4th grade and moved to Middle School. The child is question is one of my easier kids and doesn’t ask for much. In fact, he’s pretty undemanding altogether. Try to buy him a gift, and he’ll say “Mom, I don’t need that.” Offer to take him on a trip, he’ll respond “Mom, don’t spend the money on the tickets, I am happy to stay home.”
So today is an important day for him and I wanted today to be about HIM. 6 a.m. this morning and another child decides it’s time for everyone to wake up. Said child makes a lot of noise so that the graduate child and everyone else is up about an hour before they need to be, and on a day where they need to be rested and feel good.
My children all share rooms so when one is up earlier and makes noise, it’s like the animals on a farm woken by a rooster. The day begins. And there’s never been any going back to bed to be seen – definitely a con of siblings sharing a room.
Mom had curls of smoke coming out of her ears. I told the “waker upper” that this was not his day, and that he needed to think of others, that what he did was selfish, and that others needed their rest. Getting more and more agitated, I repeated the same sort of lecture/lesson three or four more times. This all took about 15 minutes. As I raced into the shower even later than usual, I was stressed, distressed, angry and irritated. Not a great start to a special day. And not number one on my list of tips for how to stay calm, nor for how to get kids to listen.
Here is what I could have done. I could have stayed calm, I could have stayed cool, I could have said “I am unhappy that you made the choice to wake everyone up on an important day, and later on today we are going to discuss it.”
That is all the situation required. A placeholder. Recognition that something needed to be talked about, and nothing more.
I was in no shape, and did not have the time, to have a conversation. With the poor and distressing lecture I dished out behind me, I felt worse. Added to my irritation was guilt that I had gone too far and said too much, and overdone it all, because I WAS IN NO MOOD TO HAVE A CONVERSATION. YUP!
As a mom, a person, and a manager of a household, sometimes the best thing to realize is that it is not the right time to address something.
You might have a point to make, but not be within the right moment in time to make it.
So don’t make your point, mama. WAIT. Relax, think, reflect, and figure out exactly which words you want to use.
When the conversation rolls around when it should — when you are on top of your game — it will go more smoothly, with you being more in control. You’ll get your message across better, and feel better about yourself later on.
It’s ok to reserve a discussion for a later time. This doesn’t mean you are skirting an issue, it means that you are making sure the topic gets discussed in the way it should.
Wishing you peace and smooth sailing conversations at this crazy time of year.