Down Home

The SLOCA Blog

Friday Flops: Xanthippe Moment

February 2nd, 2018

{photo by Alex Proimos on flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0}

“The real questions for parents should be: "Are you engaged? Are you paying attention?" If so, plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions. Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time. The mandate is not to be perfect and raise happy children. Perfection doesn't exist, and I've found what makes children happy doesn't always prepare them to be courageous, engaged adults.” 

~ Brené Brown

Today’s flop is another one of mine (Jenny’s), but as a homeschooling parent, not as the blog curator:

Last week on one of our home days I had agreed to meet an old friend for coffee early in the morning. The night before I told my two younger kids when I’d be home in the morning, and instructed them to get up, get ready and start their school work as usual. They are ages 10 and 14, perfectly capable of starting their day without me. When I walked in the door around 9 am, they were having a grand old time playing “Just Dance” and hadn’t even eaten breakfast, let alone started any school work. Needless to say, I was instantly irritated and started fussing at them and complaining, letting a bad temper get the better of me. Although they certainly required some correction, I overreacted, became a grouch, and didn’t handle the situation with grace.

Socrates and Xanthippe by Otto van Veen  
{Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons}

Later that morning we were reading The Story of the Greeks for history, and came across the chapter about Socrates and his “cross wife.” It read, “Socrates believed that everybody should be as good and gentle as possible, and freely forgive all injuries… (he) not only taught this gentleness, but practiced it carefully at home and abroad. He had plenty of opportunity to make use of it; for he had such a cross wife, that her name, Xanthippe, is still used to describe a scolding and bad-tempered woman.”

(Sure enough, I looked up the definition online and it’s true!)

Busted. I had been Xanthippe. Of course I had to stop reading at this point and say, “Like me this morning, right?” We were able to have a good laugh about it, and it was an opportunity to apologize and engage with my kids about what went wrong – they definitely see me make mistakes!

The Brené Brown quote above is so encouraging in situations like these. I’m pretty confident that I’m not the only SLOCA mom who has a Xanthippe moment occasionally (right?), but hopefully we can embrace our imperfect parenting moments, learn how to do better next time, and stay all in.

Your turn! Send your Friday Flops to Down Home and let’s keep on keepin’ it real.

FYI, if your family enjoys The Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville (located in Oceano), their current show is "Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery." Sounds fun, especially after hearing Jim Weiss tell Sherlock Holmes stories recently! It runs through March 4th - for info and tickets click here.


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