Before the pandemic, my wife, 4 kids and I were rarely able to spend time all together during the week. I’m a personal trainer with long hours and long weeks, and my wife works long and hard, too.
When quarantine hit, I lost a lot of the business I’d spent so many years building, we were all home all the time, and it was stressful for everyone. I was yelling a lot more. At my wife, at my kids. One evening, after the regular trial of trying to get the kids to bed, I had a breakdown. I just felt horrible. I felt guilty. It was an epiphany. My dad used to be really harsh, and I didn’t want to replicate that. I talked to my wife. I said I couldn’t yell anymore, and I wanted her to stop also.
Amazingly, as soon as we stopped yelling, all of our behavior changed.
Pausing to think about the most constructive way to respond has allowed me to learn other ways of approaching conflicts. It has opened up a space where I can think and act instead of react. I am much calmer in general, not just at home. It’s like water: when a pebble drops and disturbs it, the water is still again right after. That is what I strive for.
My wife and I talk about things more now—and more importantly, I listen when she talks. I am more involved in parenting. Not just hugs and kisses, but the daily grind stuff. Baths, meals, changing diapers. There is far more peace now.
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