It has been exactly one week, but the pain is still fresh. I can still see my children looking at me. Joah, who is 2-years-old, is seated on the couch to my far left. And JJ, my 3-year-old, is right beside me. I can still hear the foolishness out of my mouth as I’m running up the stairs in tears. My husband is calmer than I am. But his voice is louder than it normally is. He knows it; I know it.
And worst of all, my children know it.
Before we had children, we agreed to never argue in front of them. We vowed that all disagreements would be settled behind closed doors. But when we said that, we were the same couple who thought baby cereal was just adult cereal chopped up. We didn’t know a thing about parenting. And just four years in, we are still learning.
We haven’t had very many arguments in front of JJ and Joah. And the few we have had didn’t seem to matter. Shortly after those arguments, we were back to laughing and joking. But not after this argument. After I stormed upstairs, I grabbed my keys and I left. I rode around the city to blow off steam. By the time I came back, the boys were in bed.
The next morning, Joah seemed fine. He was as happy to see me as he normally is each morning. But JJ wouldn’t even look at me.
“I thought you were coming right back, Mommy,” JJ finally worked up the courage to say.
“I’m sorry, JJ,” I said. “Mommy should have never left.”
“Why did you leave?”
“Well, Mommy and Daddy were being a little bad to each other.”
JJ didn’t respond. He put on his school clothes and went downstairs to watch cartoons. On the way to school, he seemed fine. But later that night, just as we were near the “Amen” part of our prayers, JJ asked if he could add something to the prayer.
“And Mommy can we pray that no one is bad to each other?” he asked.
After I put them in bed, I sat down and thought about everything. I admitted to myself that I can’t control every misunderstanding and disagreement my husband and I have. But I can control my reaction to them.
I know it won’t always be easy, but we owe it to our children to not be bad to each other.
Tunette Powell is a working mom with two children. You can read her every Tuesday on momaha.com
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