"I can't hear you when you're crying" she said. "We can talk when you're all done."
He gasped for air, desperately trying to stop crying so his mama would hear him.
My heart broke just a little. For both of them.
It was a hard, end of the day, moment. He was tired, had so much built up inside from holding himself together for the outside world all day. She was stretched, just off work, still needed to make dinner.
You know how it goes, right?
When you so want a moment with your child to connect, to unwind, to see them happy and having fun but instead it feels like a crumbling heap of big feelings.
Thing is, this was an opportunity to deeply connect after a long day away from each other, likely the only one to present itself today.
And it was missed.
Instead of connection, walls were built, the emotional distance between mother and son grew in that moment.
When we aren't able to hold space for these big feelings, for our own reasons, we send the message to our children that some parts of them are not welcome, that they are worthy of love and acceptance when they can hold themselves together but not before then, that they can be heard only when they aren't sad.
Let's imagine another scenario for one moment. Let's imagine a mama saying to her upset boy:
"I hear you, son."
"I hear you're feeling sad in this moment. I'm here for you, we can talk if you want."
By allowing the space for feelings without judgment we communicate to our children that ALL OF THEM is welcome.
Building emotional intelligence happens inside these moments of guiding our children through the sometimes scary rapids of big feelings, holding steady, loving, grounded space for them as the feelings move through their body.
These are highly valuable moments of growth, even with their tendency to pop-up in the most inopportune moments...
When was the last time you were in a similar situation, tired child, end-of-your-rope-mama, situation? How did it go?
So much love to you, Mama, in the all the moments of mothering.