Let me paint a picture of your day. You woke up this morning and set your little one in her highchair for breakfast. Within seconds in a fleeing frenzy of excitement, she has knocked the bowl onto the floor. The milky mess drips through the chair, the cereal forming a sticky paste almost instantly on the cold tiles.
How do you react?
In a moment of frustration, with darkened eye bags, you snap and yell at her. Her eyes well up, she bursts into tears and even though you console her, she refuses to eat the new bowl of cereal that you hastily prepared for Breakfast Round Two.
Finally she fills her little belly but by this point you are running late for work and to do the drop off at daycare. Because you are stressed, she finds it hard to settle which means you end up spending longer than usual trying to comfort her and ensure you leave her in a positive mood for the day.
Now, you are really running late. You try to call your boss on the way and in your flustered state you don't see the police officer who was driving directly behind you. 3 points and a $250 fine. When you finally make it in to work, half an hour late, your boss frantically asks you for the important paper that held the key points to this mornings meeting.
The papers you left behind because you were in such a rush to make it to work this morning.
Today is going terribly for you. Your boss is angry and you are tired. You decide to stay behind at work to try and score some extra brownie points but it means by the time you make it back to daycare, five minutes after the center closes, your baby is over tired and hungry. She throws a tantrum the entire way home and when you finally sit down to dinner with your partner you snap and point out how he never does anything around the house. The awkward tension lasts for the rest of the night and the three of you go to bed, tired, frustrated and snapping comments under your breath.
Let me ask you. Whose fault was it that you had a terrible day?
You could easily blame your child, for if she hadn't knocked over her breakfast then you wouldn't have been running late and all of this could have been avoided. Right?
Wrong. Consider this- if you had chosen a different reaction to her dropping her breakfast, would your day progressed smoothly? What if you had brushed off the cereal spilling on the floor and instead laughed and gave her something else to eat. You would have arrived at day care on time and you would have avoided a fine as you would not have needed to call about running late. The papers would have been remembered and the boss would have been happy. Dinner time would have been a time to discuss the days events with everyone going to bed happy and calm.
Our reactions determine our lives and can have a ripple effect across your life. Whether it is parenting, relationships or work- we all have a choice in how we react. Parenting is hard and I know we are often always tired. But your reactions can cause unwanted issues across all aspects of our life- work, relationships and even friendships. Choosing how we react can be the difference between a harmonious or stressful life.
So let me ask you again, how do you react?