Today is National Random Act of Kindness Day, or so the National Day Alert account that I follow on Instagram tells me. It seems a bit more worthwhile of a day than celebrating National Cabbage Day, which is also today. Then again, those Cabbage Patch Kids didn't fall from the sky.
Because I like to stress myself out, I started thinking of all of the grand things I could do to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness today. I could make large poster signs and hang them all over the city. I could bake up a bunch of cookies and deliver them to all of my neighbors. Maybe I should stand at a busy street corner and hand out free hugs and suckers.
Then I remembered, I'm busy. Not in the "I'm too busy for kindness" way, but more in the "I'm busy giving random kindness to my kids and spouse in between all of the other things I do every day" way. Maybe as a parent, we don't give ourselves enough credit for all of the times we were exceptionally kind when we could have been exceptionally justified in exasperation. Today I am going to give myself some kindness--quite randomly, since I didn't think about it until now--by realizing that I am doing a decent, maybe even a good, job at this child-raising business.
Why, just this week, I:
- Didn't lose my cool when the kids asked what was for dinner, and when I told them, they loudly moaned and said, "Not again!"
- Let my kids keep the pillow and blanket fort up in the family room one day longer than we agreed, even though it looks like a disaster.
- Took my kids skiing, and didn't yell "LIKEWISE" when the little ones berated me from their frustration by yelling (quite often), "I hate you, Mom!" I even kept my voice calm, knowing that they didn't mean it, but they don't quite possess the language skills to express frustration yet. (We had a talk about it later, don't you worry.)
- Picked up the kids' towels after the shower instead of yelling outside for them to come do it.
- Told an extra story at bedtime, even though the call of my own bed was so enticing.
- Laughed at their jokes, gave hugs when they were overreacting, expressed how much I love them, encouraged their schoolwork, patted their bums on the way to school.
- Let them make their own breakfasts. I'm also randomly teaching self-reliance!
- Shared my Valentine's candy with them. (This is huge, by the way.)
- Listened to their school stories.
- Made banana muffins.
- Said I was sorry when I did lose my cool.
I still might go and pay for someone's soda--randomly, of course--when I go get my own fill of caffeine today. But for the most part, I know random acts of kindness are happening every day. They aren't huge or celebrated or Instagram-photo-worthy, but hopefully they are helping to create better humans out of my children and a better human of me.