This post was written on January 15, 2018.
Today I felt defeated by parenting.
Maybe it was because the kids were whiney.
Maybe it was because, just when “having it all together” felt within reach, it wasn’t within reach today.
Maybe it was because I felt bad about getting upset with my son yesterday when he didn’t want to wear his skipants in -35C weather.
Maybe it was because my daughter has had a cold and has been clingy.
Maybe it was because I was fighting the same cold.
Maybe it was because we were still coming off the high from the holidays and adjusting to new routines.
Maybe it was because Donald Trump just called some countries shitholes and I’m so discouraged.
And maybe it was just because parenting is hard work and takes a lot of energy. Every day. Now that my son is 6 and my daughter is 3, things sometimes feel easier than they did 2 or 3 years ago. So then I think maybe it will be easy today. But then it’s not.
But, I didn’t stay down. I had a little cry. Then my husband came home, we ate, and the kids started to play on their own. I drank a glass of wine and recounted the last couple of not-so-great hours to him. I don’t think he noticed the tears pooling in my eyes, but he was empathetic and that helped a lot.
And then things turned around. My son gave my daughter 2 cat-shaped vitamins – her favourite, even though they are his favourite, too. I snuggled my girl to sleep. I lay in bed with my son and he said that sometimes, when he has a thought that he doesn’t want to have anymore, he moves it out of his mind and makes room for a new thought. He said this, in his own words, with his own analogy. Without having read 50 articles on mindfulness or managing anxiety. So we talked about it.
We talked about how each thought has a feeling or a purpose. Before we push a thought or feeling aside, we can see if it is trying to tell us something. We talked about how being sad helps you know what you care about. He said thoughtfully, “That makes sense,”. Anger has a purpose, too. Anger lets you know when something is unjust. My son knows, from many, many discussions, that it is okay to be angry, but it is not okay to be unkind or to hurt something or someone. We need to find healthy ways to manage emotions. And we talked about when sometimes, you get stuck on a thought, and need help to move it. I’m blown away that my 6-year-old thoughtfully realized this on his own, and came up with his own way to shift his thinking.
Despite the whiney, grumpy day…things are going okay. In fact, they are going more than okay. Life is pretty fantastic. I needed my 6-year-old to help me remember that.