We’ve all had failed parenting days. We’ve certainly all had failed partnering days. Sometimes we have both. Somedays, like SuperBoy here, we just have to play with a wind chime while clutching our hunting camo hat in hand. See below for six phrases to repeat while parenting & partnering for a better stab at both. I say all of these often.
1) I am sorry.
Drop your defenses. If you were rude and impatient with your child, model humility. Ask for forgiveness. If you just sniped at your partner, stop, rewind, and apologize without a litany of excuses. They will understand; they have failed moments too. The child might not understand, but luckily he or she usually has the memory span of a goldfish.
2) I love you.
Remind your kiddos you love them multiple times a day. Consciously say it aloud. Tell your partner you love them at least twice, when you wake up and before you go to sleep. Text it to them. Write them a note on the bathroom mirror. You can’t say this enough, in any version–written, sung, spoken, demonstrated.
3) This is coming from a place of love.
My sister wisely shared this as a great phrase when communicating with your loved ones, especially if what follows it is an explanation of your hurt feelings, disappointment, or frustration. It’s impossible to sincerely follow this up with a nasty comment. Let your emotions and thoughts truly channel through a place of love. Because even when you don’t like your partner, you love your partner.
4) Let’s try again.
After your toddler whines his way out of bed, down the stairs, and into his oatmeal, sometimes it’s best to calmly correct the behavior by asking him to try again. To restart his day with a better attitude, or to attempt to share again with his smaller little buddy who came over to play and was run roughshod over 🙂 It’s a way to say, I understand you are struggling with something (teething, growing, your cerebral cortex developing), so I’m giving you a chance to do it better and more aligned with how we do things in our household (note the annoying royal we, as clearly he doesn’t do things that way).
5) It’s okay.
SuperBoy says this to SweetPea when she’s crying, or me when I stub my toe, or the dog when she barks. It’s what we’ve taught him to say as a beginning of empathetic listening. Remember to repeat it to your child when he drops a full cup of milk all over the floor that you (finally) just washed by hand. Especially when he looks horrified.
6) I want to be fully present.
Repeat this to yourself when you’re tempted to just check facebook one more time in case someone has “liked” your status update, or pinterest for that superdeduper DYI idea that will make your living room that much more alive, or to check out when your partner is processing his or her day, or when your baby is snarfling her way to sleep (a cross between snorting and looking to nurse), or when your toddler wants you to help him. Every. Step. Of. The. Way. to achieve the highest RBI average and no, you can’t put the baseball on the tee, it has to be “pitched” to him in a split-finger fastball. *Nota bene: I don’t know what RBI or split-finger-fastballs are. My kid is smarter than me already.
These moments gallop past us so hold on to the mane and don’t lose your presence in the present.