The status quo and I are well-acquainted. You could call us besties. I like to know what’s next and prefer that it look as much like the past as it possibly can. Predictability is my other bestie. The only predictable thing about my son is his unpredictability. Sound familiar? In any given week, no, any given day I come face to face with many an opportunity to lose my stuff. Sometimes it’s injury related, other times it’s argument related. Blood, bodily fluids, anger…they’ve all reared their heads and sometimes I’ve kept my cool and other times I’ve completely freaked out.
Mama, don’t freak out.
You, my friend, are your son’s keel. In a boat the keel is the metal piece that keeps the boat evenly distributed on the water. (Please excuse the very non-technical definition.) Ever heard the term “even keel”? It’s referring to the even distribution of weight so the boat can sit evenly in the water. If you can keep it together, your son will have a much easier time of figuring out where he stands. If we mamas freak out over every little thing, our sons will not be able to control themselves or discern what is or is not important. I know that sometimes it’s hard to remain even-keeled when it seems the world is all topsy-turvy, but the only way to maintain level is to stay have your own keel anchored in God’s word.
About two summers ago my son made his way down the stairs and announced, “Mom, I accidentally peed out your window…and I made a mess.” I pondered this thought for a moment. Situated on the second floor of our house, my room faces the street. The only unlocked window also had a fan in it and a screen as well. Obviously, there was no “accidentally” about this. It was premeditated unauthorized relieving of oneself!!! Oh the audacity!
My brain quickly ran through all the appropriate freak outs. Bodily fluids on my floor….peeing out the window…did anyone see him…were my neighbors going to call the police….how did he get the fan out…there is pee on my floor…and over and over again. Despite my mind going bonkers, I kept it together because, let’s face it, the silver lining is that at least he didn’t fall out of the window. (Look for the silver lining….it’s normally worth a chuckle.)
There were two parts to this scenario…the pottying in an inappropriate place part and the danger part. The latter was worth a discussion and a reprimand because hello(!!!!) he could have fallen out of a two story window. The pottying part…well, it just wasn’t worth losing my stuff over. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t worth destroying my son’s conscience over something so trivial.
Reaction is Everything
My daughter is cresting the wave between standing on her own and taking her first steps. This is such an exciting stage to watch her explore and expand her boundaries. That being said, this is also a season of watching her fall a lot as she builds her endurance and practices balance. She consistently looks to me for my reassurance as she topples once again onto her diaper. Earlier this morning she pulled a small bucket of toys off of a small shelf and was surprised when the momentum of her pulling landed her directly on her rump on the floor. I was watching from a few feet away and as she looked at me, a bit bewildered from her thump, I smiled and clapped and excitedly said, “What a good job falling! Good job, Etta! That was a big boom!” The expected reaction of crying was changed to smiles as she witnessed and behaved in accordance with my reaction. I’m sure if I had boo-hooed with her she would have burst into a ball of tears.
The Way We React Now Dictates How They Will React Later
Life is not always easy. Life doesn’t always give you what you want, when you want it. If our sons see a go-with-the-flow reaction to the curve balls of life modeled for them, they will be better equipped to deal with the disappointments and unexpected circumstances in their own lives. Watching you, mama, react with measured patience and words will bless your sons for years to come.
1- Honesty– It’s okay to say, “I really want to be angry right now, so I need a minute.” Our sons need to see us acknowledging the desire to freak out and yet, somehow controlling it and choosing instead to remain in control and react differently.
2-Immersion-Drench yourself in the WORD. Whether it’s reading some verses on an app on your phone or a two hour inductive Bible study. Do it. Find a way to incorporate scripture into your life and meditate on it. That’s just a fancy way of saying “Think about it.”
3-Connect & Share– Some days we just need to know we are not alone. I have one good friend in my life who I call regularly and she hears, “You’ll never guess what just happened!” Most of the time she can guess, her kids did it too, and she has some wonderful insight into life.
4-Step Back – Perspective is invaluable. If you are struggling with the enormity of something or the relevance of a certain issue, like whether or not it will matter in the grand scheme of things, a bit of perspective can be healthy. It’s okay to address the situation and tell your son you may revisit it and discuss it again later.
5-Know When You Should Freak Out – It can be quite crazy and unnerving to see your child bleeding or injured. It’s okay to want to freak out in your head. May I suggest waiting until after your child is stable and or under someone else’s care whether it’s another parent, a friend, or even a healthcare professional, but at that point, grab chocolate, coffee, or sugar and feel free to cry until your heart’s content. A little bit of freaking out is okay, just not over every little window that gets peed through.