In my motherhood journey, my first really big “Ah ha” happened when my two sons were around 7 and 4 years old. I went to a parenting class seeking guidance on how to get them to stop fighting with each other. The conflict was non-stop.
I grew up with sisters and was unprepared for the physicality of boys. Their pummeling of one another lit a fuse in me that I was unable to extinguish. They took great joy, of course, in watching mommy blow her top.
Once they were both in their rooms, serving time outs for fighting. I was trying to get work done in my home office. I heard the sound of spanking and cries of pain. As I flew in a rage to their rooms, I saw that they had set me up. They were still in their own rooms, one of them slapping his own leg, the other one crying out as if he had been hit. “Gotcha!” they laughed, when I arrived red-faced and yelling.
The teacher of the parenting class–I can’t remember which method she was promoting, Magic 123 or something else, I tried so many of them it’s a blur now–listened to my story. I knew I was central to the problem, but I couldn’t find a way out. She took a pencil and paper and drew a picture of a stick figure woman. Then she drew zigzags all around the figure. “This is you,” she said. Pointing to the zigzags she continued, “This is the stress energy that you are emitting into your home. It’s contagious.”
I knew she was right, but it would be another decade before I would learn to lose the zigzags.
I’d love to hear about your own “Ah ha” moments. Please share them in the comments!