Monday afternoons are challenging for me.
I drive my kids to various extra-curricular activities, drop one kid off here, drop another kid off there, do a food shop in between, pick one kid up and then pick the other kid up and then finally head home.
It’s quite exhausting and by the time we return home it’s nearly 7 pm.
When I walk into the house with my packages, it’s never quite clear if my other two children, who stayed home with my husband, ate dinner or not.
Last night, I came home famished and noticed there was no dinner on the table.
I asked my husband if he could make a salad which he generously agreed to.
As I was putting the groceries away, I heard my husband tell the kids the salad was ready, but no one came to the island to eat.
“I don’t think anyone wants to eat,” he said to me.
“Great,” I responded. “A quiet dinner just the two of us.”
We just started eating when our five-year old approached the island and started bouncing up and down yelling, “I want salad! I want salad!”
“OK,” I responded, “So sit down!”
But, he kept bouncing.
He started to scream.
And so did I.
I turned to my husband and whined, “Why did you say the kids don’t want to eat?”
Dumbfounded, he responded defensively, “What’s the connection between whether or not the kids came to the table and the fact that Amir just hit his head? Are you trying to blame me for Amir getting hurt?”
Feeling the situation escalating, I responded in an extremely calm voice, “You don’t need to yell at me.”
“But, why do you do that?” he continued to insist.
And all during this exchange, our son was still screaming and receiving no attention.
So, I turned to him, gave him some ice and a big hug.
He calmed down within seconds, climbed up to his bar stool, and began eating.
But, my husband and I weren’t done with the scene.
“Can we talk about what just happened?” my husband initiated.
“No, I’d rather not talk right now,” I replied.
“Well, I’d like to talk about it,” he insisted.
Frustrated with his insistence, I stopped and quickly thought about it. I told myself I was stuck on frustration. I uncovered one belief: Because my husband did not insist that all our children come to the table, Amir hit his head. I checked on my belief and realized it wasn’t 100% accurate. In fact, it was far from the truth. I considered that the incident had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not my husband insisted our children eat with us and I considered I was wrong for blaming my husband for it.
“Look. I got stuck. I’m sorry. Can we move on with our lives?” I pleaded.
“Ah. An apology. It’s all I wanted to hear,” he said.
And then I began to cry right into my bowl of salad.
Not because of my husband’s behavior, but because I was mad at myself when, in the heat of the moment, I forgot to pause.
To stop immediately when I get triggered.
Then I remembered I forgot “K”.
So, in that moment, I held myself in compassion and told myself that it was OK I got stuck on frustration in the first place and that while I have the best intentions to slow down my lightning fast reactivity, I don’t always succeed because I’m not perfect.
With that, I became grateful my husband accepted my apology and grateful for having the tools to be able to get unstuck and move on with my life and with mindful well-being.