I bring the worst out of my kids.
Whether it’s after 15 minutes or 15 hours, reconnecting with my kids is sometimes in the form of tears, crying, pushing and shoving.
My parents recently watched my three kids overnight. Between drop-off and the time I picked them up, I received a dozen photos featuring smiling, happy kids. Texts were exchanged with status updates of their overnight stay with Nana and Pops, complete with dinner, play, and late bedtimes of course.
They had a great time, and then, they saw me.
Queue the tears, the fighting, and the meltdowns. As soon as I walked in, their laughs turned to cries. Their game involving all three turned to pushing and shoving. I drained all positive energy out of the room.
And then an innocent comment was made: “They weren’t like this for us.”
Ever heard some variation of that statement before? “They weren’t like that for me.” “They were angels until you walked in.”
Why? How does walking into the room cause chaos? Why do sweet moments of reconnecting end up being 10 minutes of calming everyone down and stopping the fighting?
And it’s not just the overnight stays and extended periods of being apart that cause the 180 of emotions. After a 15-minute shower and my husband occupying all three, my presence causes the same reactions. It’s as if seeing me causes a switch to flip from quiet playing and getting along to tears and tantrums.
Honestly, it’s soul crushing. And it’s not only frustrating, but heartbreaking to be the one to cause such a shift in the room.
I’ve heard before that one of the reasons kids act out in front of their parents is that they are comfortable. Comfortable to be themselves and show their emotions. Comfortable to let their guard down and bare it all.
While this makes sense, I’ve added my own take on it. It’s my own explanation that I turn to when the switch flips. When reconnecting with my kids brings out the worst, I tell myself this:
When I walk into the room, my kids realize how much they missed me. Because of this rush of emotions, they want my undivided attention. They are one of three though, and think whoever cries the loudest, pushes the most, or throws the biggest temper tantrum, wins my attention. In those moments, they don’t see how Mom can share the hugs, the love, and the kisses, but I can.
To sum it up, my kids love me so much, that the sight of me causes all of the emotions, good and bad. Their worst is actually a display of what’s best: their love.