Week-long school breaks are always crazy for me.
Three-week-long school breaks even more so.
I’m in the midst of one and doing my best to stay sane.
I’m not complaining.
I know I am blessed that I can spend 24/7 with my kids for almost 3 full weeks. Really!
But, it’s not easy because a) my kids are different ages (14, 11, 8, and 5) and b) they like to do different things.
Which makes planning kind of a challenge.
I suggested the beach this week, but one of my kids opposed it. He wanted to go to the pool instead.
I proposed a hike another day, but another kid complained of the heat. He just wanted to stay home.
I recommended a new idea – a “puzzle room” (ever heard of it? They’re new here in Israel), but it wasn’t fit for kids under 7.
Anyway, like I said, I’m not complaining.
In the end, choices were made and the kids were happy.
No matter if one kid said he didn’t want to go to the beach, he had a fantastic time.
And the other kids were able to find a sense of happiness each day as well.
Or at least it seemed that way.
I didn’t really know because they didn’t say a word to me.
No, “Thanks, Ema, for an awesome day!” or “Ema, it’s so cool you can hang out with us during our breaks!”, or “Thanks for trying so hard to plan a great vacation for us!”
Nothing of the kind.
And I went to bed each night, exhausted, and stuck on wondering whether my kids would ever learn to say “Thank you.”
Until last night, when I chose to process through it.
I stopped by closing my eyes and taking a breath.
I told myself I was stuck on disappointment.
I uncovered my beliefs and check the accuracy of them.
I believed my kids should say thank you and acknowledge their parents at every opportunity possible.
At every opportunity possible? Really, Shira?
I believed, if my kids weren’t acknowledging me at this point in their lives, they’ll never learn.
Ever heard of a late bloomer, Shira? And what about your eldest? She tends to say thank you quite often, no?
I believed I must be a terrible mother and must have gone wrong somewhere.
Come on, Shira, you know you’re not a terrible mother.
Realizing my story wasn’t so stable, I checked for other perspectives.
- I considered acknowledging me just wasn’t the first thing on their minds at the end of each exhausting day.
- I considered they may thank me at the end of this long vacation before they go back to school.
- I considered my kids do know how to say thank you. In fact, they say it quite often to me.
- I considered that I had a great vacation with them, and I could thank them!
- I considered, if I thank them, perhaps they will imitate me and thank me in return.
- I considered I could just acknowledge myself for the creativity, patience, and strength I maintained through this week.
I chose to acknowledge myself (the consideration I was otherwise keeping in mind for this week), give them the benefit of the doubt that they were going to acknowledge me by the end of their vacation, and start thanking them at the end of each day (for joining me and being on their best behavior).
Last night, as I put the younger ones to sleep, I thanked them for an awesome day.
My 5-year-old responded, “Thank you, Ema!”
Music to my ears.
I got stuck on disappointment, but it’s OK.
I am grateful I was able to process through it, rather than allow it to ruin the rest of our vacation.
We’ve got three days left.
And I’m looking forward to each one of them!