It’s been a crazy week in our household. Between deciding to take the job in Peru, giving notice on my house, trying to sell my car, finding out when our Australian citizenship ceremony will be held, starting the new job, not sleeping due to my ongoing chronic back issues, having my eldest daughter trialling for under-20s national basketball championships and having my youngest daughter home all week for school holidays and wanting to do stuff, and then today having a market to sell my artworks where I didn’t sell a single thing….I’m absolutely running on empty. I’m exhausted. Nothing left. No energy. No fucks to give about anything right now.
Except, of course, I’m me. So I do care about a lot of things. And one of those things is about how I show up in the world, day in and day out. How I model integrity and courage to others, especially my daughters.
This afternoon I had a huge meltdown at my youngest daughter. And of course it was over the smallest, stupidest thing. I found an empty Tupperware container in the cupboard that should have contained sugar. My youngest was the last one to use the sugar. All that stuff mentioned earlier that she wanted to do over the past week of school holidays??? It revolved around cooking and baking. She’s been incredibly sweet, cooking and baking for all of us and even making a special Japanese brunch for five friends yesterday. But I knew one of the things she had used in her baking had been the sugar. And now there’s none. I found an empty container where the sugar should be in the pantry. This is not the first time it has happened. In fact, it happens on a fairly regular basis. Usually I’m calm. Not today.
I lost it and started shouting at her. And once I started shouting, it was hard to stop.
Of course I finally got a grip on myself and realised that I was making a mountain out of a molehill (or in this case, an empty Tupperware container). I also realised that I was super hangry since I hadn’t eaten anything for hours and exhausted due to all those factors listed at the top of the page. The Tupperware container really had very little to do with it.
I fixed myself something to eat and then once I’d eaten I sat down with my daughter and apologised. I explained what my problems were and apologised for shouting at her. We talked about what had triggered me and we also came up with a solution together for next time the sugar runs out (start a grocery list instead of putting an empty container back in the cupboard). We were able to do all of this calmly and quietly.
Apologies are big for me. The word ‘sorry’ was rarely heard as I grew up. And ‘sorry’ wasn’t a word used much in my former marriage either. As such, owning bad behaviour and apologising for it is a big deal to me.
I consciously decided to change my behaviour a few years ago. I now consciously own my behaviour, especially with my kids, but with others I come in contact with on a daily basis too. I may not always get it right but I try to be the best I can be. And when I don’t get it right, as I so spectacularly did today, I own it and apologise for it.
Generations of adults in this world haven’t taken responsibility for their actions which breeds children who never learn how to take responsibility for their own actions. It’s a vicious cycle. And it’s why so many adults today seem to think it’s ok to do whatever they want, with no thought for others, for future generations or for the earth.
Integrity is often defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. It is an integral part of me to be honest and to have strong moral principles, and to model those for my daughters. But integrity can also mean the state of being whole and undivided. Maybe if we could live in a society where more of us were honest and had strong moral principles, then maybe we’d all live in a society that was more cohesive and less divided.
Maybe it all starts with saying ‘I’m sorry’ to someone and meaning it.