I had a win last night in the parenting game. It came, however, at the expense of my own pride.
My boys had been shitting me to tears all afternoon. As a parent, you tend to get used to your kids being selfish fuckers who can’t appreciate any of the myriad of things you do for them. Yesterday though, I was on the edge of rage. They were bickering about the tiniest things while we were working in the workshop. I was building them a wooden crane that they had designed, and it was going reasonably well until I broke a critical piece by rushing.
SIDE NOTE about kids for those who don’t have them: they are incredibly well tuned to your lowest points, those times when even a mosquito bite of self control seems impossible to consider. In those moments your child will: instantaneously turn up the volume on any complaints they may have; they will start fighting that little bit more annoyingly; or they will decide to use that most precious item of your household as a sledgehammer. Science has tried to understand the telepathic powers of young children and use it for good instead of evil. Unfortunately, science is not yet smart enough.
I was in a state of frustrated despair due to my inabilities at woodwork, and my boys jumped on it like ravenous hyenas. They started fighting over a G-clamp, due to it being the nearest item at the time worth arguing over.
I lost my shit.
I ripped the clamp out of my eldest’s hands, and threw it to the ground, berating the pair of them for arguing over bullshit, and why couldn’t they cut it out, and why couldn’t they just help by being good, and ra ra ra.
After a moment of silence, my eldest looked at me directly in the eye, and said, calmly, “You just snatched that from me!”
I roared back at how he deserved it, and they shouldn’t be doing that, and they should be grateful I’m making something for them, and ra ra ra.
Again, with absolute calmness, the eldest said pointedly, “You shouldn’t have snatched that away.”
His unruffled bearing under pressure shook me out of my aggression. I saw that his composure was pissing me off due to my own lack of self-control, and that I was trying to shake him out of it in order to have an argument. His unperturbed stance impressed me, and I saw that the work we have been putting in to parenting well has had a profound influence.