What a great opportunity my youngest son gave me last night! An opportunity to practice what I preach! Let me explain….. Eden, my youngest who is home from uni for the long Summer holiday break had two friends coming for something to eat and stay over. He had chosen lasagne, garlic bread and salad. They were out all day, enjoying themselves and I was at home dutifully and lovingly preparing an extra special large homemade lasagne. As it got closer to tea time, I text Eden to find out what time they wanted to eat. “Much later” was his response “I’ll let you know” When it got to about half past seven and I hadn’t heard from him, I text again saying “Give me about half an hour before you want to eat so I can put the lasagne in to cook :)” “Oh sorry, we’ve already eaten now, were starving so got pizza :)” came the response ….!
I felt a strange sensation in my chest! Anger, annoyance, frustration, disbelief, outrage, how dare he?! all came rushing in …. Then I remembered what I say to other parents when they experience these feelings … Breathe and think about responding not reacting and certainly not over reacting! And think about the outcome you really want. Look through rose coloured specs and see what’s good about this…. Yes, it’s challenging and still do-able :o) So, I took a few deep breaths and thought about what I wanted to say to Eden. The outcome I wanted was that Eden understood I wanted a bit more consideration and would know to let me know if he changed his plans in the future and that I deserved that consideration. I composed myself and rang him, keeping calm and matching his cheery greeting of “Hi Mum” I had to remind myself that he didn’t know how I was feeling or that he may have done anything that I might be ‘upset’ about so I said “Hi” back and using my ‘feedback sandwich’ where you say something positive, or good first then deliver the ‘filling’ the crucial bit of information, that might not be so good and then finish it with a positive, I asked “ You enjoying yourself?” and then “Good” to his response of “Yes, having a great time” then I told him, I’d spent a lot of time preparing food for them and expected they would be back for it and I did not expect they would change their minds and not have the courtesy to tell me. “Sorry Mum” Eden said “Didn’t think” and that is the crux of the matter, he didn’t think much about it at all. He certainly didn’t think “I’ll do this and upset Mum, or make her angry” very often our kids do things not expecting the response they get. It’s good to put ourselves in their shoes. On this occasion, I knew Eden was having a great time and just going with the flow and didn’t do it intentionally and it was a good opportunity for me to let Eden know what I expect him to do and how I expect to be treated. Finished the call with “I know you didn’t think, and I’d like you to do that in future, please. Enjoy the rest of your day and see you later. Love you” “Love you too, Mum” his reply and we left it on a good note :o)
I looked at what was ‘good’ about what had happened. I saved money, a whole meal not eaten on Saturday and I had Sunday’s tea already prepared, could relax on Sunday, got the opportunity of having a quite house for many more hours than I expected Saturday evening and Eden and I both had a learning opportunity.
What was also lovely was when Eden did come home he came in to me and apologised again. I accepted his apology graciously. A much better ending than might have been if I’d handled it differently. We have the choice of how a lot of situations play out. Remember you have the choice of how you allow things to affect you. You’re in charge of you and what you choose to do :o)