I slammed a door this morning.....really hard. Matthew ripped our basement door off the hinges the other day because he kept slamming it, so I guess it wasn't THAT hard. But still. I was trying to make the point to the rest of the household that I was mad at them--every one of them. I had it up to my eyeballs with whining (Adi), screaming and obsessing (Matthew) and totally inaction (Liam) as I tried my darndest to get everyone moving so that we could make it to church. Not a soul paid a lick of attention to me (unless they wanted something) and the result was me getting louder and louder, them getting increasingly agitated, and the entire experience drawing to a close with my slamming of the door. Irony is, that part of it, the dramatic door slam that I hoped would communicate my message and shock everyone into submission and bring humble apologies, went almost completely unnoticed.
Door now slammed, I laid on my bed, face up to the fan, church clothes wrinkling, contacts drying out from the fan, tears streaming into my ears as I realized something. I am powerful. Not powerful in the way that I hoped to be this morning where I clap and the world responds to my every command. Rather, powerful in my ability to impact the mood and feeling of an entire household. I look back at the events of the morning and realize that I am a bit grumpy....and it is dragging everyone down. My happy, "good Mom" days are happy days for all. The days that I keep my patience and can calmly talk through stuff with my children instead of raising my voice are good days in deed. No matter how whiny Adi is, how upset Matthew gets, or how frustrated Liam may be, no one else seems to really be impacted. But when Mom is grumpy, everyone struggles.
Now that's a lot of pressure when you think about it. We all want our kids to grow up to be confident, happy, well-adjusted, flexible, strong, kind people. The every-day stuff is laying the foundation for them becoming that. If we have more of the days where we are grumpy, anxious, and controlling, we breed agitated, anxious, frustrated little ones. If we learn to temper some of our natural tendencies to be super reactive (even if we have to fake it once in awhile) to preserve the mood in our house, we just might have a fighting chance at getting it right.
The fan and I chatted for a bit (ok, so perhaps I was talking to Someone a little beyond the fan whilst I stared at it) and I realized that I need to do a better job of using my power for good. I sometimes make the excuse that having a child with autism makes it harder, but I think I'm wrong. Having a child with autism makes it different. This is hard for everyone. My ability to exercise self-control and choose my moods is the same as anyone else's...just the circumstances vary. I don't get a free pass just because Matthew's behavior might, at times, be more extreme. Where would that excuse leave my other kids? Rather, my circumstances are the perfect ones to groom and mold me into who I need to be. Everyone makes that same choice.
Now, with Mom's in particular, we are ALL powerful and have the burden/blessing of impacting the feeling in our household for good or ill. We are the CMO's (Chief Mood Officers) in our homes which is a massive responsibility. Like I said, a series of good, happy days breeds the kind of littles we all want. For me, just that awareness and embracing my title (CMO) helps me to take the reigns and make good things happen rather than think I am the victim of my families conspiracy to take me to the edge of sanity.
I'm going to try REALLY hard to use my power for good. Deep breath....here we go.