Just the other day, I dashed out of the office to run home to my family after a long day of work. The only thing I could think about while on my way home was how much work was waiting for me once I got there. How was I ever going to get everything done (make lunches for school the next day, return calls, reply to emails, do laundry, write that report for work)? I pulled into the driveway, parked the car and started my usual rush toward the door. But for some reason, I stopped and just stood there. I wasn’t ready.
My head was still at work and I was not at all in the right place to be the calm, focused mother and wife I want to be when I enter my home, my sanctuary, and see the people I love the most. Frankly, I felt irritable and exhausted for a myriad of reasons and I knew that if I walked into my house at that moment, I would snap or say something I would later regret.
Just the other day I snapped at my innocent eight year old son who just asked me for some water shortly after I came home. Instead of responding kindly to him, I told him to get his own drink since I was obviously overwhelmed with tending to my sick 18 month old daughter and getting dinner ready for the entire family.
Standing outside my door that day, I realized that the transition from work to home was a difficult one for me, as I’m sure it is for many parents. I thought about how many times I took my frustrations out on the people I loved the most because of stresses that have nothing to do with them.
As I faced the front door, I tried an exercise that I so often recommend to my clients. I closed my eyes for twenty seconds, took some rejuvenating deep breaths and thought about the kind of energy I wanted to bring into my sanctuary, my home. I thought about how much I missed my children, and how much I was looking forward to hearing about their day at school, reading with them and cuddling with them before bedtime.
From that day on, I decided that before walking into my home to greet my family after a long, stressful day, I will remember to stop and have a moment of meditation (even if just for a few seconds) to acknowledge the blessings and stresses of my day and prepare myself to enter my sanctuary with patience, strength and love.
This is how I wish to greet the people most important to me.
Do you find that you take your frustrations out on the ones you love the most? What do you do to center yourself?