I’ve worked very hard to be able to have peaceful mornings with my children. I hate having to rush the kids to get dressed and then rush to daycare. I realized something during one of these precious peaceful mornings. Something that made my heart sink.
Me and my two-year-old had just arrived at daycare. It was a chilly day, with rain and sleet falling from the sky. I hadn’t realized it was going to rain, so I was busy tucking my child into rainproof trousers and gloves, so she could play outside with her friends. (In Finland the kids play outside in ALL weather conditions.)
Toddlers have nimble fingers and the sleeves of the gloves are thick. I was struggling to get the sleeve of the glove on top of her coat sleeve, while trying to get that evasive little thumb to go where it should.
Whilst trying to get it right for the umpteenth time, I realized that many parents would be ready to burst into tears right about now. There would be a bus to catch, thoughts of work deadlines and meetings would be creeping in, the sleet would be sticking to the face, the clock would be ticking… WHERE IS THAT THUMB?!
The child with his nimble thumb might seem like the world’s biggest obstacle in that moment, and all the frustration and anger just cannot break that obstacle.
A hidden sense of urgency might have already been there, in the back of the mind, even before leaving for daycare. That urgency which can make anyone feel anxious. Rushing from point A to point B is a never-ending race against time. This race leaves us with no winners, but plenty of losers. Being in a hurry causes a stress reaction, with fear as the root cause. Time becomes our biggest enemy, and all our energy goes into battling against the obstacles, so that we can have more time.
So, the child with his nimble thumb might seem like the world’s biggest obstacle in that moment, and all the frustration and anger cannot break that obstacle. Mummy or daddy is angry. And the child will think it’s their fault, since they cannot comprehend the bus schedules, or the important meeting that are on mummy or daddy’s mind. The child doesn’t know that there are a hundred e-mails waiting at work for the parent, and that’s why they are stressed.
The child is in the line of fire of stress, fatigue and anxiety. The child becomes the obstacle for having more time. The obstacle for finishing the race, which never existed in the first place.
The child is not the obstacle. The child is a child. A child, who wishes that their parents would love more and stress less. A child who wishes, that mummy and daddy wouldn’t be angry – especially not at them.
I realized how many children carry the burden of their parent’s stress on their shoulders, thinking that it’s their fault the parent is angry. It made my heart sink.
All because the thumb wouldn’t go where it’s supposed to go.