Kindness Always Wins

I am sensitive and last week I was hurt more than once by the same person. I forgave one time and tried to convince myself that I had to be compassionate and understanding. I had to be the one to swallow down the insulting accusations and insinuations. Then three days later I was attacked again. And while I am a sensitive person, I am not a doormat.

I do not accept abuse in any form. So, I made a change and gave notice to a family who needed to be removed from my daycare business. In nearly seven years, I have only ever had to do this once before. My stomach turned and my heart hurt having to do it, but it was necessary. As much as I want to believe that everyone can see how much energy, heart, and soul I dedicate to the children in my care, the truth is you can not please everyone. The truth is sometimes it’s not the children who are the problem.

I understand that everyone has different levels of comfort and some are more prone to anxiety and worry than others. I know that parenting a baby for the first time is especially difficult for these people. Anxiety and parenthood already go together, so when you take a person who is naturally anxious and introduce them to motherhood, it can be difficult to find a balance.

I know this from experience. I have been working with first-time parents for many years. I have seen mothers and fathers with different thresholds of understanding and comfort. I have seen parents who like to micro-manage and send notes with detailed instructions each day, especially in the beginning. Parents who worry about a missing hair clip or sock. Parents who text me or call me on weekends and evenings to ask about mysterious rashes. Other parents don’t seem to worry about anything. They never ask about what their child is eating and don’t even bat an eye when their child has a scratch. The rest seem to fall somewhere in between. And with each personality, I smile and accept. I never judge. I never give an attitude or take it personally. Why? Because I get it. I am being trusted with the most important person in their life. It is hard to leave your child in the care of someone else. And being a parent is hard. So VERY hard.

I am sensitive to other parents. I want to be their support system. I want them to feel at ease. I do not want them to worry. I want them to feel comfortable enough to text me. I’m truly okay with this because it is more than a business to me. The children and parents become like family. I want to know what they do on weekends, not because I am nosy, but because I am interested and I care. I like to know what each child calls their grandparents. I know all their siblings’ names. I know about their extended families and whether their family lives in Florida, or Michigan, or Kansas. I know if a child prefers to be hugged right when they see me or if they prefer to warm up a little first. I can tell with one look if these children are getting sick. I also know their favorite foods, their favorite colors and whether they need a pacifier, special blanket, or lovie to sleep.

My daycare is a second home to these children. I am their caregiver and I create a safe environment. I would do anything to protect these children as if they were my own. If you spend more than an hour with me, then you know this is not just talk. This is the truth. This is who I am. I am kind and loving and I do not put on a show to keep my clients. And for the most part, the parents of the children I care for get this. They are amazingly supportive. They thank me, they are warm with me, they cheer me on, they know my family and do not judge when my kids melt down in front of them, they support my blog (not necessary, but nice), and most importantly they trust me.

Group care is not for everyone. Home daycare is not for everyone. I know this and respect this. Also, as much as it kills me to admit, not everyone is going to like me or trust me right away. I recognize that sometimes I have to earn this trust. I have to put a new parent at ease and demonstrate through actions that I am not a wolf in sheep clothes. I am aware of the stereotypes and the horror stories you see on the news. I have been there. I have left my baby in the arms of another woman and all those scary thoughts crossed my mind as well.

This is normal. Fear in parenting is normal. But, allowing your fears to control you and dictate the way you treat others is another story. Allowing normal fears and anxiety to cross over into paranoia is not. You need to recognize that lashing out and making accusations and being mean is not helping you or your child.

I am kind and when someone is not kind back it hurts. For me, the only way to counter the negative thinking and hurtfulness of others is not to sink to their level. Instead, you have to spread more kindness. You have to reach out and do something, anything for someone other than yourself. You cannot dwell on your own feelings and have a pity party. Believe me, I like a good old pity party as much as the rest of us, but this is not productive.

On Friday, I decided to spread some kindness. I wrote on my Tiny Steps Mommy Facebook page that I donated money to one of my favorite local charities Journey for a Cure in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I also shared a few links to sites of readers who were donating money to causes related to pediatric cancer.

And do you know what happened? Minutes after sharing this online my phone rang and the caller ID said childhood cancer. I was stunned for a minute and answered. It was a telemarketer asking for money for a charity that supports children with cancer. I listened to the woman reading from her script and didn’t even let her finish. I said yes right away. I knew she was supposed to call me at that very moment. I knew this was not just a coincidence. I could tell she was surprised at how quickly I said yes. She asked for a certain pledge amount and again I said yes without hesitation. Her voice gave away that this was also not the typical response. It felt good to do something for someone else. It was as if I was reshuffling the negative energy around me… and do you know what? It worked.

An hour later there was a knock on the door and sitting on my front porch was an unexpected package. I opened it and found the most amazing gift from my husband. It was a surprise that arrived exactly when I needed it most. I grinned from ear to ear by the gesture and thoughtfulness. I never thought I would get weepy over a license plate frame, but that is what happened. Later he brought me flowers and took me out to dinner and a movie… all because he knew I was hurting and he loves me and he was being kind.

This has to be the most romantic and cheesy gift my husband has ever given me! So if you see me driving around with this on the back of my minivan, feel free to honk. But don't judge my driving, please;)

This has to be the most romantic and cheesy gift my husband has ever given me! So if you see me driving around with this on the back of my minivan, feel free to honk. But don’t judge my driving, please;)

So, you see, kindness always wins. Be kind to others and think before you say or do something that could hurt someone else. I know it is human to make mistakes and sometimes our actions do hurt others, whether we mean to or not. I am far from perfect and I have done my share of hurting, but you can always turn it around. You can always make it right by being extra kind and generous and thoughtful and sincere.

You can reshuffle the negative energy. You can spread kindness.

 

About 

Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.

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Comments

  1. Blanca Alvarado says:

    Great blog! You took a bad situation and turned it around. “Reshuffle the negativity”, is a great expression! Loved it!