I was getting ready today and took the time to put some makeup on. The girls love watching and wanted me to do their makeup. I take a brush and gently swipe their faces with it and brush their eyebrows. Big Nugget soaks it all up, you can see her demeanor change, and told me that she felt pretty with her makeup on. I saw this opportunity so clearly as a teachable moment.
Thinking of Kristen Bell talking with Brene Brown about how she made sure she spoke positively about herself and her body in front of her daughters. (Watch them talk about this teachable moment here, it’s so good) I knew this was a great opportunity to do the same thing. I told her that I think I look beautiful without makeup but sometimes it’s fun to put it on. She repeated what I said almost immediately and said “I feel beautiful without makeup too” and the heavens parted and the sun shined down on my head while the angels sung.
I realized…if that kind of statement sinks in so easily, something so positive, so affirming…so are the negative things I say like “stop crying”.
And yesterday was a perfect example of that. It was rough. Wednesday’s are always a little rough cause it’s so busy but yesterday was exceptionally rough. Surprisingly, the Nugget that had a rough day wasn’t the toddler, it was the preschooler.
Everything was met with tears. Everything. She was super emotional. I got increasingly frustrated as the day went on.
I found myself saying “stop crying”. And when I heard myself say that I felt horrible. Why should she stop crying? Cause it’s not how I would handle the situation? She’s 4. She has big emotions and I often forget that she doesn’t quite have all the tools to handle them. Most days she does, but some times these days remind me that she’s still learning and she’s looking to me (and her Dad) to guide her.
What I did was come away from the day was wanting to make sure that she felt heard, she felt empathy from me and that she walked away with some confidence. That it’s ok to cry and feel big emotions, but there might be better ways to handle it in the moment.
Have you heard that saying – If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. It usually is meant for children to see themselves in professions and leadership positions but it also applies to emotional health and situational awareness. Just like I did with the makeup, I needed to flip my approach in this teachable moment and help her see them differently.
I swapped out “stop crying” with something along the lines of “I know you’re upset but can you take some deep breaths to calm down and let’s figure out a better way to deal with this”. It started to work by the end of the day and even worked again this morning when a power struggle with her little sister led to tears.
I continually have to remind myself that these Nuggets where not born perfect. As Brene Brown says, they are wired for struggle, that it’s my role as their Mama to help them through navigating their own strengths, dealing with what life (or your sister) throws at you, just like I’m doing for myself.
I’m sure I’ll catch myself frustrated in those moments and tell one of them to “stop crying” but I’m hoping that I can step back fast enough and see a teachable moment as an opportunity to help them grow into healthy, confident girls, just as much as I would any other.
What to see another brutally honest teaching moment I’ve had with Big Nugget? Click here to read it.