The “mom” face. My sons have seen it all too often. It looks something like this woman’s expression:
It’s a toxic mixture of anger, disbelief and negative assessment, sure to put everyone on edge.
My sons would all too quick to confirm that I can be a nag:
“Why do you wait until X O’Clock to start your homework?”
“Please do Y chore NOW so you don’t forget.”
“It’s your turn to mow the lawn. You’ve let it go long enough. I want it done today.”
“I’m changing the Netflix password until you finish that paper.”
However, as I said in my last post, I know that for any of us, each day could be our last. My increased awareness of living in uncertain times has made me a nicer mother. My husband and I are still in the season of training our boys, so it isn’t like discipline and expectations have gone out the window. But I’m paying more attention to the emotional tone of how I interact with the boys, particularly when it comes to hello’s and goodbye’s.
I’ve always wanted home to be the safest place, the place they want to come back to, a refuge from the rough-and-tumble of the world. So even though when they come in the door, I might want to say,”Your clothes weren’t in the laundry bin, so I didn’t wash them,” I wait. First I say, “Welcome home! Nice to see you,” and give them time to settle in before we have a discussion about domestic matters.
When it comes to goodbyes, I bite my tongue when I want to say, “Why can’t you get up 5 minutes earlier so you don’t miss the bus?” Instead, I pocket the “taxi fare” I charge for a ride to school and play music that we’ll both enjoy for the 5 minute it takes to get there. If I’m really lucky, those precious minutes in the car reveal something I might never have heard, and definitely would not have heard if I’d been a grumpy driver.
Small changes, to be sure. But when so much is uncertain, I want the boys to BE CERTAIN that it is always good to be home.