I am a fairly even tempered person. I have a lot of patience with people and situations. When there is trouble, my mind automatically kicks into problem-solving mode, so I rarely sit and stew over things.
This morning, however, I became acutely aware just how my own good or bad mood can have an over-reaching effect in my home. I received some disappointing news this morning, unexpected both in the content and the timing. While I did immediately start going over the different options and possibilities left to me, I was thoroughly put out.
What had started as a fairly pleasant morning, (the first day of summer vacation) suddenly turned sour. I heard a sharpness in my voice when I spoke with my boys. I had no patience for antics of any sort, or even the expected behaviour of 2 and 4 year olds. My mood was foul and I couldn't help but be bitter in everything I said and did. Worse, I was aware of my attitude and knew that it wasn't fair to those around me. But I just couldn't seem to lift myself out of it.
We passed the morning at a friend's home in a flurry of conversation. The boys were occupied with her children, and Benjamin was relatively quiet. I had a chance to offload about my situation, and then get my mind engaged in other issues. When the visit was over and I felt somewhat more settled (and less likely to explode) I decided to drop in for a visit with the vice principal of Colin's school to discuss what options we had, so that we might make an informed and best decision.
After a 45 minute wait (we were told she would be available in less than 5!), time spent trying to amuse Colin and Caleb, I walked into her office, ready to calmly discuss the situation. I wasn't looking to fight a losing battle for what I'd originally hoped for; instead I just wanted information about other options. But I had barely launched into my well rehearsed piece when she smiled and said that the matter had already been resolved, and a message to that fact was waiting on my answering machine at home! The whole situation was very reminiscent of the trouble I faced in September when I was trying to get Colin into a certain classroom for very specific reasons.
Suddenly the clouds parted and my mood lifted. I all but danced from the office to the van, smiling and laughing with the boys in a sing-song voice. And once again I was aware that my cheerful mood was spilling over onto how I communicated and interacted with my kids.
I felt today like a cartoon; the one where the person has a little storm cloud over their head when they are angry, and then a sun shining above when they are happy. It was all so obvious to me. It was also a poignant lesson in attitude. I have learned the powerful effect mood has on me and how I can unfairly take it out on those around me. I will definitely try harder in the future to take control of my emotions, find an outlet that isn't another person (kids, husband, family, friend, etc) and in so doing treat those around me more fairly.