'Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance...' I'm fairly certain at no point does Renton tell me to 'choose kindness' yet two weeks ago there I was reading a blog on 'Parenting Mantras' and that, thanks to Trainspotting, is the one that stuck.
Despite being a blogger there are certain blogs that, for a long time, I refused to read. Anything on 'how to be a better parent' 'how to raise strong independent women' 'how to win at Motherhood.' I suppose it was denial. I fell so head over heels when my eldest was handed to me I just knew I would get it right, I adore her, how hard can it be? I'm going to be amazing. But then, sometime over the summer holidays I had one of those days when I really wasn't amazing, and I knew it. It is so easy to think you can do it when you are high on adrenaline on day one but then 2555 days in when you haven't slept properly, the kids are tearing each other apart and you have a mountain of work to get through, it's not so easy.
Love the Summer holidays or hate them, there will always be some days when you are driven slowly up the wall by the kids. I'm not sure when it happened but I could feel my stress levels slowly rising over the course of the week. The kids hadn't done anything wrong they were just being kids, there were arguments, there was a lot of mess and there was a lot of not listening to me. I began snapping at them, one of them hit the other and I cracked, there was a lot of yelling and it seemed to be getting worse every day. I was becoming one of those people I hate, that nag all the time and don't actually play with their kids. That's when I stumbled across the mantras blog.
I wish I could remember who wrote it, or even which of my friends shared it in the first place, however, I skim read it over some simmering spag bol and initially took it for nonsense. But as I thought about it more deeply, it made sense. I tell my children to count to ten before speaking, yet I had totally forgotten to do the same. Now, this blog was telling me to do just that, only repeat 'choose kindness' ten times instead of numbers. We all know we need to be kind to our kids, we all WANT to be kind to our kids, but sometimes we simply forget. Two weeks ago, I began saying 'choose kindness' repeatedly BEFORE I launched at my kids. before I yelled at the state of their rooms, before I freaked out when one bit the other. That's not to say they didn't get in trouble, when it was due, but it gave to time to analyse the situation first. Were they fighting because I had been so absorbed in my own work that they had simply lost their patience waiting for me to finish. Had one hit the other as a cry out for some attention when I hadn't given any? Were their rooms a mess because they hadn't been out all day and it's all they could do?
I'm not saying this mantra has changed my life and suddenly made me the perfect parent, it hasn't, but it has been the reminder I needed to put my kids first again. The pile of paperwork will wait ten minutes for me to play Lego, or Hogwarts, or babies, if one of my children wants to tell me something then I will ALWAYS stop and listen to what they have to say and when they, inevitable, play up sometimes, then I will slow up before losing my cool and look at the situation more realistically. If the summer holidays have worn you out more than you would have liked, then perhaps, tomorrow, say 'choose kindness' a few times, it has definitely helped us.