I’m not a computer expert. My sole fix-it-all strategy if something goes wrong is the trusted and true standby-reboot. This will fix the problem 99% of the time.
If only life were that simple. Yesterday was a perfect example of a day that was sorely in need of rebooting. Or maybe an entire system restoration. Either way, we were heading for the “blue screen of death” and a major crash.
Here’s how the morning went. Sleeping in. Whining. Crying. Arguing about pants. Throwing things. Swearing. Stomping around. Arguing about socks. Collapsing on the floor. Threats. Screaming. Arguing about breakfast. Still more crying. Yelling. Complaining. Slamming the door. Being late. Further crying. All parties participated equally in each activity.
Driving to work, I felt like complete garbage. I had pretty much displayed every poor parenting skill in the book-yelling, losing my temper, swearing, being impatient, using threats, you name it. I really wanted to rewind the morning and start all over again. I would be well-rested, calm, patient, cheerful, caring parent instead of tired, cranky, late, nasty parent. All I needed was a reboot.
I sent big man a text: “Sorry. I’m officially the worst parent ever”. Perhaps sensing my dismay, the big man brought me surprise flowers at work. (Special Note to dudes, if you need a reboot the husband-wife operating system, flowers are a sure-fire fix). We talked about what we both could do differently tomorrow, starting with an earlier bedtime for everyone. Sleep = Harmony at our house.
Luckily, children are amazingly resilient. I called little man’s daycare to see how much damage had been done by our morning meltdown. Relatively little, it seemed. When I picked him up, he was his usual happy self. I told him that I was sorry for yelling and losing my temper and that parents don’t always do the right thing. We agreed tomorrow would be better.
What I learned about parenting: You are a parent for life. Every day you get to reboot and try again, until you get it “right”. We make mistakes and learn from them. No one knows exactly how to be a perfect parent (except maybe people without kids)-you learn by trial and error, following your instincts, and….I’m still learning what that third thing is.
When in doubt, reboot.