(unrelated photos from my latest shoot)
Recently, when a new friend came to dinner with her children, my eldest was proving difficult and uncooperative. While I attempted to manage the situation, in all honesty, my frustration was rising. With one simple sentence, my friend calmed and supported me. As I endeavoured to untangle his big feelings and help him to cope and join the rest of us in dinner, she smiled and said, 'I really admire your patience.' And though I laughed and shrugged it off in the moment, it really hit home to me when I thought about it again later. In that instance, I did not feel judged that my child was behaving 'poorly'. I did not feel like a bad parent. I felt acknowledged and understood. Parenting is difficult. Children won't always behave the way you hope they will. Whether you have company or not. But by acknowledging that you are doing your best, and trying your hardest, in such a simple and compassionate way, you are able to hold on to that calm for longer and deal with difficult situations.
I tucked this little gem away, and while grocery shopping alone last week, I found a moment to share it. With her two little ones at the checkout, she was attempting to juggle loading her purchases on the conveyor belt, while distracting her children and keeping their hands off the groceries, answering their questions, picking them up off the barriers they were climbing, and rounding them up when they wandered away. She managed it all beautifully, but I could tell her patience was wearing thin. As she walked past me I smiled and honestly shared my friend's words with her, 'I really admire your patience.'
I was rewarded with a smile. "I've already 'lost it' once today", she admitted. "I'm not sure I have the energy to fight them again!' "I know how you feel, I have three little ones, 7, 4 and 2.
"I know how you feel, I have three little ones, 7, 4 and 2. But I think you are doing a great job."
Sometimes, I think those five little words are the best we can do. I hope you hold on to them too, and share them with someone that needs to hear them. xx