You’re distracted because this weird work email just came in. You’re in a bad mood because of something you saw. And what happens? Well, your kids get the brunt of it. Or they get only 50% of Dad at dinner, because you’re home but not really home.
You lose your temper because you were in the middle of finishing something up. You lie and say you’re watching but really you’re paying attention to what’s on TV. You’re feeling off because of something somebody said to you. You haven’t been on top of stuff because you’re in a funk.
Preoccupation is the enemy of good parenting. And the worst part? Kids can sense it. They act out when they can see you’re distracted, they sense your energy. They are simultaneously sponges and mirrors, unflattering ones at that. When they make a mess, bite their brother, dye their hair pink—that’s what is happening.
The sad truth is that most of what we’re preoccupied with doesn’t even matter. We give the jerk at the office free space in our head. We choose to be on Twitter and doomscroll. We don’t need to check our email as much as we do. Worrying about money never solves our money problems.