Our Christmas this year didn’t quite go to plan. My husband came down with full-blown flu on Christmas day and retreated to bed for a whole week. Our plans to visit family were totally scuppered. It really wasn’t the Christmas that we’d planned for Little I, and it was a bit of a disappointment all round. I even saw in the New Year on my own!
So when Andy finally made it out of bed on day eight, something in me broke and I found myself in floods of tears. I think it was simply the fact that it was the first time in over a week that he’d been well enough to give me a hug!
Little I was in her playroom. I’m usually very careful to not show such raw emotions to her. Andy asked if I wanted him to get her for me, but I said I didn’t want her to see me in such a mess. He ignored me, and must have whispered to her that I needed a cuddle. The next minute she’d thrown herself onto my lap and was giving me the biggest squeeze she could possibly manage. She stayed like that, not moving, for what seemed like ages. She didn’t release me until she sensed I was ok.
Once she saw that I was fine, she disappeared off into her playroom and was very quiet for a while. When she reappeared she was holding the most gorgeous bookmark that she’d decided to make for me, to cheer me up. On it she’d drawn very carefully a picture of herself dressed as a ballerina. She knows how much I love to read, and I was so touched that she’d come up with such a perfect gift idea for me. I will genuinely treasure it for life.
So this incident got me thinking…it is ok to let your children see you cry? I don’t mean all of the time, but occasionally, can it be a good thing?
In this instance I feel it was the right thing to happen. It showed Little I that I’m just as fallible as she is. While most of the time I try to be strong and a good role model for her, maybe it’s good for them to see that we don’t have all of the answers, and that sometimes we can’t hold all of it together. Surely as parents we also need to teach our children how to be open in their emotions.
In a small sort of way, I also think this incident encouraged Little I to step up and take on a bit of responsibility for her emotional Mummy!
What do you do? Do you let your children see you cry when you’re upset, or do you always shield them from your tears? I’m really interested to hear other parent’s thoughts.