A little known fact about me: I am a crier.
I cry. All the time. About everything.
I cry when I am happy. I cry when I am mad. I cry when I am scared or hurt. I cry when I laugh. I cry when I watch movies, TV, or commercials. I cry when I read. I cry when I am frustrated. I, of course, cry when I am sad. I cry [insert emotion here].
I cry. I cry. I cry.
I don’t cry, however, when I cut onions.
The other day I was reading a blog post a woman wrote and I started crying. While at work. Earlier the same day I dropped off a very tired three-year-old boy at preschool and there was an incident at the hand-washing sink that made him cry. Mostly because he was so exhausted he didn’t know how to deal with his emotions.
As I was leaving I felt bad because I knew he was going to have a particularly rough day, and predicted there would be quite a few tears shed that day. So that day really got me thinking about crying. And boys crying.
I have two boys. And I HATE that phrase “boys don’t cry”.
My husband sometimes cry and he is a boy. (But don’t tell him I told you…About the crying part.)
“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
I understand the need for men to be men and all that garbage. But who decided that showing you emotions are not manly? Some other man probably.
Ahh…but I digress.
I have never wanted my son to think he couldn’t cry about something, when his emotional response was to cry. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a child, be it boy or girl, who cries about EVERYTHING. But I don’t want my child to be so embarrassed about crying that he doesn’t learn to share his emotions. And he is three, he is gonna cry about things.
So when he gets upset about something and starts crying, I have never told him to stop. My response is that I need him to calm down. He often gets more emotional when he is tired, come on, we all do. When this is the case I tell him “I know you are tired but I need you to calm down so we can talk about it.”
I know, sounds like a lot of “new age” (is that even a term now?) mumbojumbo. A little too ‘get in touch with your sensitive side.’
However, it works. If he is throwing a fit or got hurt or is just so upset about something and doesn’t know how to express it, these words helps him. Sometimes I say “slow down, breathe slowly and try to calm down.” Cause you know how kids can get when they are crying so much they start to hyperventilate.
Of course sometimes he says “I canna calm down, I cryin’ too hard” which is just adorable! After someone else has stopped crying he will ask me “did dey calm down now?” Isn’t he just the cutest?
I still have to get mad at my husband sometimes when he tells Ian to ‘stop crying’ because that is not the road I want us to travel. We should all be able to cry when we want to. When he is just throwing a temper-tantrum I just tell him we can talk or do whatever, when he calms down. It is hard not to say “when you stop crying” but I really don’t want to use those words.
I try to validate his feelings and let him know it’s OK to have them, but eventually he needs to stop the tears so the day can go on.
So I say, let it out. Cry. Cry often and cry hard, if that is what is called for. Be you man, woman or child. Don’t be ashamed to let others see you cry. Carry your hankie embroidered with your initial on it, and cry.