Last week, I watched a couple have a heated argument in public. I've seen people fight before, nothing physical, well except the one time two Asian men got into fisticuffs at a Chinese restaurant.
Suddenly everyone was super skilled with their chopsticks, slurping down noodles faster than you could say "Pass the low sodium soy sauce."
With couples, it's usually some verbal sparring loud enough so the people around them could feel incredibly uncomfortable, scanning the room for the nearest exit and hoping that they just leave already because OMG it's just so freaking awkward.
But this time they had kids with them. Three girls, elementary and middle school aged, just standing there while the two of them yelled and pointed, not really looking up or around at anything.
Then late last week, David Pogue and his wife were arrested for a domestic dispute that ended up getting a bit violent (allegedly, that is), over custody issues.
And apparently the kids were there while iPhones where thrown. Or arms were bitten. Or whatever actually happened.
I'm hardly one to be pointing fingers.
On the contrary, both of these incidents gave me great pause about how I fight with my own husband. And if watching someone else fight was as shocking to me, a complete stranger, I can only imagine how upsetting it might be for my kids to see it.
Actually, I can only hope that it is upsetting for them. To me, horror is better than complacency from regularity.
Putting a cork on my emotions can be pretty challenging, particularly when you pile on hormones, sleep deprivation, and two people who often butt heads for reasons too long to name. But we've both been pretty diligent about this for awhile now, a commitment that we both made with each other knowing that it was just an absolute no way not going there absolutely not.
There are still the random screaming breakdowns, which usually entail me yelling in frustration and running up to my room to clear my head with a hot shower and some Real Housewives, followed by an apology in front of the kids, explaining that yes, indeed, I do lose my cool. I do make bad choices.
And I do still require a time out sometimes.
But after seeing the couple battle it out with their kids, our decision was affirmed. And I realize even more now than ever that good parenting goes way beyond your interactions with your kids. It has almost as much to do with how you interact with each other.