“Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.”
That used to be my email signature. I took it off because after a while I thought it was lame. I found it on a packet of tea so that made it doubly lame. Plus, we live in America – are we allowed to say that our cushy lives are a battle?
But I believed in it once and today, I believe in it again.
I had an absolutely horrible day with the kids. It was hot and humid, they were cranky, and then one started crying non-stop so the rest joined in. The baby spent his whole day following me around crying to be picked up but I was too busy running around with ice packs for imaginary aches and pains and trying to keep them all from coming in the house with wet naked bottoms (we were in the pool).
Then I found out that two of my clients are going through really awful things in their lives. Maybe the kids were a reflection of that, maybe not. But I could step back and handle them in a much nicer way when I knew where all the angst was coming from.
It was that kind of day, where it didn’t matter what I did, there was simply not enough of me to fulfill all the needs these kids had (how often have I said I need a clone?). So I got through it the best I could, trying so so so hard to keep a positive spin on things.
Three kids cried while I simultaneously cooked lunch, fed the baby, and did an Oscar-worthy performance entertaining everyone else to keep them from crying too. I laughed as much and as loud and convincingly as possible, I sang songs, I did funny voices, I overlooked things I would usually nag them about.
I will probably pay the price tomorrow when they all expect The Amy Show again and get just regular boring old Amy (who is still exhausted from one full day of tap dancing).
BUT I made a difference just by realizing that seriously, their problems could be bigger than mine today. And a lot of grownups’ problems are bigger than mine. So count your blessings and for as long as you can take it, just be nice to people. You never know what’s going on out there.