The Secret Power of Mom and Dad Dates

Last week I had one of those days. You know the kind. It was the sort of afternoon where you think you are going to glide through just fine until dinner time and end up hidden away in the bathroom with a bar of dark chocolate with sea salt for comfort. This day had flattened me and cut right through all my firewalls. I was wrestling long and hard in a throw of words with one of my girls. We were grating on each other, wearing one another down. She expressed her frustration with an eye roll here, a murmur there, and I over-corrected, under appreciated and became all together critical of everything she was up to. In the moment though, I just felt right, I wanted her to yield, to bend ... I wasn't about to be satisfied until she let me control her. Naturally, while clutching my chocolate and holding on for my dear emotional life, I phoned my husband and spilled out all my guts. "Wow, honey. It sounds like you could use a date." Yes! Whisk me away from here, where shall we go? I'll make the reservation! Oh wait. He meant with our daughter.

His words rang true. Since each of our children was a toddler, I've found that when I begin to become irritated, when I'm easily offended or grasping for their ear, its an indication that we could both benefit from some focused time together. Our children know when we are over-tired, they can sense when we are frustrated with them or when our communication has been out of tune. The disconnect can be felt deeply by their little hearts.

It is in these moments that we are called to initiate restoration and love -- to show our children they are our priority and to speak out with our words and actions that they are special to us.

[You can finish reading the rest of this article at For the Family. Click here.]