I've had a rough week full of disconnection with my nine year old daughter. Today I noticed she was getting dressed without prodding, brushing her hair and doing what she needed to do to get out the door on time for school. I was so proud of her and she seemed so beautiful and precious to me in that moment. I made eye contact with her and smiled. Not a huge wide-toothed smile, but I felt my facial muscles move into the place they go when I smile.
She stopped in her tracks when she saw me staring at her and said, "What?" Let's just say I sensed some venom in her voice.
I just love you and I'm proud of you.
Then why are you giving me that look?
I'm smiling at you babe.
That's a frown trying to be a smile.
Here I was showing up with the absolute best of intentions trying to connect and she still didn't see it this way. How bad must it feel when I'm reacting out of a place of anger or irritation? It was a reminder of perception and how much our kids feed off of our energy. We have to literally ask them the question to make sure we are on the same page.
This applies to all relationships in our life. With our partner, at work, with our friends. Unless we have the courage to check in, "You seem a bit off today, did I say something that upset you?" we could be two ships sailing on different rivers, in opposite directions.
I wrote today's post in response to a podcast interview question from the amazing Maria Alcoke of The Engine Mom podcast. Use this question that Maria asks all her guests as your writing prompt for this week:
What is one thing that motherhood has taught you this month?
For those of you without kids, simply substitute partnership or yoga or nature or life for "motherhood". I’d love to read your response - email it to me!