OFFICER YOU HAVE TO ARREST HER!
“Officer you have to arrest her!” Like most good stories, this one starts with someone suggesting I should be arrested. But before I share this story, let’s talk about how my confidence never waned despite the rather unusual circumstances. If you are a friend of mine, I can assure you that you have heard or witnessed some pretty funny stories regarding my children. I, like any other human in the world, struggle with self-doubt. However, you will always hear me be confident when I say, “I am a great mom.” I believe it 100 percent. You might be thinking that sounds believable. You might think it seems likely that a child counselor would feel good about their parenting… Well, it might be time to start my story.
I recently moved my counseling and evaluation practice closer to home in the Houston Heights area. I love being close to home, having zero commute and basically having the coolest office I could fathom. Oh, and I love being close to Chick-Fil-A! However, this move also means I am living right next to the office, meaning when things go wrong, my clients and potential clients get to share in my adventures.
I took my children to the Chick-Fi-A next door to my office recently. I was having a great meal with my two young children. The restaurant was packed and like usually at this time, it has a few police officers enjoying dinner (yep, I know the general crowd of Chick-Fil-A. Total #momlife). I was feeling pretty good about everything, when my face burned as red as possible. In that moment, my sensitive, dramatic, and lovable 4-year old shouts at the top of his lunges “YOU HAVE TO ARREST HER. ARREST HER…” I realize that his food burnt his mouth despite both of us doing our attempts to blow on it. I also realized he was out of his drink. I scramble to get some water while a police officer turns toward me- cue the extra red face. My son shouts, no he quite literally demanded, “OFFICER YOU HAVE TO ARREST HER!”
This is the moment that my body is so confused. Do I laugh hysterically? Do I cry? Do I just run out of there like a crazy woman? No, I do none of these. This is the time that I truly believe that our children are not a reflection of us. It is the way we respond to them that is the reflection of us. I say often as a professional and a young mother that "when little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it's our job to share our calm, not to join their chaos." So this story ends with me taking a deep breath, mentally naming the emotion I was feeling -embarrassment for myself and empathy for my struggling child- and finding that calm during this chaos. I told myself, “I have nothing to hide in how I respond and welcomed everyone to stare!” I then validated my son, “wow you must be in a lot of pain. That was so unexpected to be burned that way when you blew on it. Drink this. Let me hug you. Now let’s talk about this big reaction to a medium sized problem.” In an instance, things were peaceful. I had a wonderful meal, and I am pretty sure those officers never reported me to CPS!
I share this story because if I can find confidence in my parenting approach when being threatened with arrest, you too, can lose the mom guilt, find confidence in your own unique parenting approach, and find connection with your children in life’s more difficult moments.
Written by Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPC-S
Amy Rollo is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and owner of Heights Family Counseling. Amy has been practicing counseling and diagnostic evaluations for fifteen years. She has doctoral level training in the areas of child and adolescent counseling, evaluations, marriage and family therapy, and adult counseling. Amy Rollo provides counseling and evaluation services in the Houston Heights and surrounding areas. Amy’s goal in counseling is to journey with her clients in order to foster positive changes and growth in their lives. Read more about Amy's counseling style by visiting www.heightsfamilycounseling.com and read more about her services http://heightsfamilycounseling.com/services-1/