Usually I am trying to convince my kids that there are no monsters, but lately I have been telling them there seems to be a monster living in our house.
Last week I caught myself getting sharp and intense with my kids. As I was starting to raise my voice, I noticed their faces starting to freeze up and realized my intensity was overwhelming them. To help them interpret, and to try to pull myself back, I said “Boys, I think a monster just ate my RCs.” To illustrate the point, I growled and clawed at the air in a silly way. We all started laughing together, and I apologized for getting too intense.
I don’t know about you, but I am noticing these days it is a LOT easier to lose my Relational Circuits. In fact, I find with the constant overwhelm I feel from the demands of homeschooling and trying to work from home, not to mention the emotional toll of everything around me being turned on its head, it is hard for me to stay in relational mode. I find myself at loose ends, my cravings high, my patience thin, and grumpiness abounding.
While my goal is still to notice when I fall out of relational mode and get back to it, the reality is I am not able to hold onto my Relational Circuits as well as usual, and I am spending a lot more time in overwhelm and snappiness. In addition to working on giving myself grace that I am not handling things as wonderfully as I would like, I am also working to help my kids interpret my struggles. Hence, the monster that ate my RCs. . .
Later that same day, my son’s Relational Circuits slipped, and he was in non-relational mode as well. I made the comment that perhaps we needed to hire a monster catcher because the RC monster seemed to be running amok in our house gobbling up all our Relational Circuits! This got a laugh, and the humor of it helped all of us feel a little better and start to feel a little more relational.
These are times for grace and repair. Yes, we hope to handle the strain well, and I know I am handling things better than I would have if this had happened a couple of years ago, but the reality is these circumstances stretch even those who have been building their relational skills for years. Give yourself grace in the moments you are not proud of, apologize to your kids and your spouse, and help them interpret. The goal of parenting isn’t to do things perfectly, but to repair when things go wrong. So right now, focus on mastering repair!
For more on how to help strengthen your ability to stay in relational mode and recover when you fall out, check out the videos this week on YouTube where Chris and I will be sharing 4 keys for recovery. Also check out Pandora Problem and Outsmarting YourSelf for more on relational circuits and enemy mode.