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Crying In Front of Your Kids: Do Your Tears Inspire Their Fears?

Do you hide your tears?

Mornings aren’t the greatest around here anyway, but this morning was terrifically terrible.

Kids freaking, parents freaking. Drama that would rival any episode of The Kardashians. Even the one where Khloe questions the identity of her biological dad.

Violet, my 3-year-old, was being particularly difficult as we struggled to get out the door for her pre-school. At one point I happened to glance at myself in the bathroom mirror as I huffed and puffed past with a load of books I had removed from her room.

I had sent her to her room for misbehaving and she had the gall to enjoy herself so I stomped in there and removed her enjoyment. I saw myself there in the mirror, face mottled red, hair sticking every which way, a bale of hay pitchforked into readiness for horses, boobs flopping embarrassingly beneath my bedtime t-shirt and I stopped cold.

And started to cry.

I don’t make it a habit to cry in front of my kids. I found nothing more alarming in my youth than the sight or sound of my mom crying and vowed never to do so in front of my own children. Yet, here I was, blubbering like Sally Field while auditioning for Steel Magnolias.

Immediately my child ran to me, hugging me, showering me with kisses and, in the exact same way I do for her, began to brush strands of hair from my face and rub my back while murmuring “It’s okay, Mama. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. It’s okay, Mama. Calm down. Take a deep breath.”

This awesome display of empathy from the child who, just seconds earlier, was acting in ways that had me longing for a shot of Jagermeister mere minutes into wakefulness, brought on more tears.

Even though I must admit the love and kisses from the kid who caused the tears of frustration was incredibly gratifying, I was also ashamed for allowing her to see such a vulnerable side of me. Not because I’m afraid of being vulnerable in front of my children but because I don’t want to alarm them. I want them to always consider me to be a rock, a safe place.  The one person who they can trust to remain solid, even when they’re acting out and misbehaving.  I don’t want them ever to feel the terror I felt upon seeing my mom cry or hearing her sob behind closed doors.

So I bring my question to you. Do you cry in front of your children when frustrated over parenting?  Why or why not?

Photo credit: emptynestmom.com

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You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.

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