When my 3rd and littlest kiddo was a toddler our family basically plodded through 2 solid years of perpetual melt-downs. As a mother, I think it’s a rite of passage to have at least one kid who’s inclined to throw fits, right? I mean, that’s gotta be a rule somewhere? For this particular kid, it was just his nature to get emotional over everything… a pinched finger, going to school, not going first, not winning, not getting to eat a bowl of ice cream for breakfast… you name it. Don’t get me wrong, he was equal parts loving and sweet too. I think his sensitivity was actually an early indication of his incredible compassion that I see today.
For every melt down I would scramble to negotiate, talk down, and repair – partly because my older kids were so sick of hearing it day after day. Partly because I was too. But fixing things was also just in my nature. I did it with the older ones too…
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Oh, you had a bad day at school?
What did you do?
Here’s what I think you should do next time…
Fixer. That’s me.
One day while bringing groceries in from the car, my poor little guy tripped and dropped everything in his hands. Per usual, he began crying. I could tell he was tired and frustrated. Without a way, or even a reason, to fix or repair the situation, I held him close to me and whispered to him, sometimes we fall, Buddy. Sometimes we fall. In that moment I felt as if the words weren’t mine. But I recognized the truth in them. Sometimes do we fall. Sometimes life just gets crappy. And without a way to fix it or take it back, there’s a comfort in knowing that, yep, sometimes it just is.
Sometimes we fall has become more than just a phrase for me with my kids. It really is a whole shift in perspective. In a world where perfection is the new standard and immediate response is everything, we come to view ourselves as flawed when things go wrong. As parents we feel like we’re falling short constantly. If a kid fails a test or mouths off or has a lonely lunch at school… We jump straight to the solution because feeling derailed is awkward and uncomfortable. And don’t get me wrong, solutions are great. Oh, I love a good inspired solution. But something tells me that solutions aren’t always the place to start. Sometimes we have to start right there, right on the ground. Right from that place that feels so painful and uncomfortable. We must know that it’s okay to fall because, sometimes that’s just what happens…
The broken microwave when the budget doesn’t allow a repair.
The mismatched shoes that you notice on your kid as you’re settling into your bench at church.
The time you forgot that it was your day for carpool.
Here’s the message in sometimes we fall: This is what makes us human, and you are so loved not just in spite of your falls, but because they make you YOU.
For the moment, especially in this modern digital world where we’re inundated with false depictions of perfection, we must know that falling only means that we’re human. The new diet, the new semester, the new… fill in the blank. You’ve never really blown it. When we fall we remember how human we are – beautiful and imperfect and trying. It’s a glimpse that we can often only see from the ground.
Author of The Success Project: 10 Steps for the Mompreneur
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