If parenting were to be governed by examination I reckon I am probably still in Key Stage one, SAT level. If I revised more, listened to my inner subconscious instead of letting my emotions rule my shout, I am sure I would be on for at least a D at GCSE. However, I am my own worse enemy when it comes to heeding my own advice.
But, where I let myself down I do have a unexpected skill. Although I don’t always listen to the voices in my head in the heat of a parenting moment, I am outstanding at dishing out rules when someone else faces the red rage of parenting.
Let me explain,
Picture the scene….. (it is based on real events)
It is 8.34, you should have left for the school run over 5 minutes ago and you have a meeting first thing at work that you simply must not be late for. One child sits at the breakfast bar trying to achieve a Guinness World Record for the most painfully slow eating, the next is looking for his shoes with his eyes glued to cbeebies. The third child is happily choosing her shoes from her older sisters dressing up box.
The red rage of parenting starts to descend over your eyes like a mist that clouds your judgement and makes you forget that you are dealing with small people.
Politely you request they speed up, then moments later, when you remember the meeting you must simply not be late for your inner calm takes a running jump for cover and you let the red rage pick up the parenting mantel.
“We are late,” you bellow with the boom of a brass band, “TV is banned, forever! you will have to see the Head, I could be sacked, we will have to live in a tent. Get a bloody move on.”
The red rage of parenting is not always rational, or nice.
However, it normally gets them in the car in a way where my inner calm fails.
Let’s take the same scenario but put he who helped create them in the scene.
It is 8.34 and I note that he who help create them is starting to look anxious, and his tone with the children is more cross than motivational. At this point the helpful parenting expert that resides within me feels it is appropriate to highlight had he got up earlier, laid out the shoes by the door, turned off the TV fifteen minutes previously, and prepared breakfast before his own shower he may not be in this position.
Surprisingly, my intended helpful supportive words only seem to hasten the speed of the red rage descent.
He starts to bellow, as the pressure of being late for school and work forces his inner calm to hide in the bathroom. Then I really step in…
Because there is simply no better or funnier time to point out bad parenting when someone is right in the middle of it.
I carefully place a loving hand on his shoulder and he shrugs it away. His body language suggests this may not be the right time to have a chat about successful, calm, parenting, but I have never been a body language guru.
I re position my hand and say in a sickly sweet voice,
“Darling, remember what we said about not yelling at the kids. How that book said shouting dads causes shouting children?”
He who helped create them looks at me in a way that makes me think I should add a book on successful marriage-ing to my Amazon wish list. His look says rude words to me silently – and not in a sexual way.
But surely he must be happy that I am doing on the spot coaching, helping him find his perfect parenting path.
I reckon by the time he gets to the office he will be texting me ‘thanks’ for being such a calming influence.
*Next day update – no text arrived – perhaps there is a problem with the networks?