I’ll confess that there was a time in my life, several years ago when I though domestic discipline could solve just about any issue under the sun. Looking back, that was naive and simply not true. However, at the time, it seemed like everything that we used domestic discipline for worked like a charm. But, as we grew with domestic discipline one of the things we began to see is that as great as domestic discipline is, it isn’t always the right answer for some circumstances.
Have you ever had one of those days where it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day for everything you need to get done?
It’s an overwhelming and stressful feeling, no doubt. That was me a year or so ago. There were a million things that I needed to do that day and it seemed like the hours were ticking by faster than I could get things done. I was overwhelmed, and that was an understatement. Clint was pretty busy that day as well, and it just seemed like things were never going to get done on time. In the midst of all the chaos, the running around, and the craziness I’m pretty sure my attitude began to slip..a lot. What started out as one of those, “okay, I can handle this!” type of day quickly turned into one of those, “no way can I handle this. I need a vacation!” and went downhill from there.
I don’t remember the specifics of what I said, which is probably a good thing, but I remember standing on the staircase in our entryway yelling at my husband. And, anyone who knows me personally knows that yelling is something I never do. I have to get either really pissed off, really frustrated, or just really overwhelmed to even get to that point. That was one of those days.
Clint responded in a typical HOH way – that behavior is uncalled for, and unhelpful to the situation. Therefore, he opted to punish me. Looking back on the day, I can totally understand why he did. My attitude was spiraling out of control. So, he opted to send me to our bedroom for awhile to calm down. The problem was that the reason I was so overwhelmed in the first place (thus triggering the attitude issue) is because I felt like I just didn’t have enough hours in the day to get everything I needed to done. So, in my eyes, how was an hour or so in the bedroom going to help that? The answer is that it wasn’t.
It made it worse.
I, reluctantly (very reluctantly) went up to our bedroom, but the entire time I was in there I wasn’t thinking about why I was being punished. Instead, I was far more concerned with the fact that me being in the bedroom wasn’t helping my to do list (thus being overwhelmed) at all. By the time Clint came up a little while later, I was actually more upset than I had been earlier.
My attitude hadn’t improved, that was for sure. And, although I semi-tried (aka- not much effort was really put into it) to be in a better mood, it just wasn’t happening. I think Clint was frustrated with the lack of change in my attitude, and I was frustrated with his reaction to this entire situation. I felt like bedroom time was probably the worst punishment he could have done for this, at the worst possible time. I was getting angry, no doubt.
He ended up flipping me over his knee and spanking me with his hand and a wooden spoon. Not real hard, but hard enough to get the “drop the attitude message” across. But, once again, throughout the entire spanking my mindset wasn’t on, “wow I really handled this wrong and I need to fix my attitude and approach this day better because this attitude isn’t helping”. Even though I know those statements were true, and that my attitude wasn’t helping, and I did need to knock it off, in that moment that wasn’t what was going through my mind. Instead, I was too focused on the fact that I was getting spanked for something that I felt could have (and should have) been handled in a different way all together. Therefore, it made the spanking pretty much useless. If I wasn’t learning anything from it, then it wasn’t working.
It took awhile that day for everything to calm down.
Clint apologized for how he handled the situation, and I apologized as well. The way I handled things was wrong. Bottom line. But, the way he handled things definitely escalated the situation instead of doing what he had intended for it to do, which was make it better. A few hours later we sat down and devised a plan that would help both of us to get everything we needed to done. We split up tasks better than we had before, were communicating better, and as a result, stress levels were going down. I feel like if we had both done that from the beginning it would have minimized the need for any sort of punishment to even occur.
We both learned a lot that day. Clint learned that maybe punishing isn’t the answer, even if there is a misbehavior that occurred. Yes, I broke the rules that day. I snapped, I yelled, I had a bad attitude, and I didn’t listen real well (and that’s an understatement). But, in that moment, punishing me for it actually made things worse and that wasn’t his intention. Since that time he hasn’t punished me while I was angry, and if a punishment did need to happen he has waited until both of us were in the right mindset, thus causing it to go much smoother.
What I learned is that sometimes it’s okay to ask for help. This is something that I’m still not great at (to be perfectly honest), but I’m working at it and the instances that day taught me that if I would have just went to him and asked him for help earlier that day when things first started to get overwhelming it likely would have prevented the days events later on. I also learned, like he did, that domestic discipline may not be right for every single situation. It also reaffirmed to me the importance of both of us communicating effectively.
So much of domestic discipline is trial and error, and so many times you have to (unfortunately) actually experience something going wrong in order to better understand how to fix it for the future. This was one of those instances, and despite how much that day sucked, I’m glad it happened because it taught both of us things that we still carry with us to this day.