I cannot tell you how many times I have set a new goal of not yelling at my kids or not getting frustrated or impatient. Sometimes I hide in my closet or in my bed. Sometimes I want to have a tantrum like a three-year old and just bang on the floor. Why? Why? Why? Why won't they pick up their shit? Why won't they listen to me the first, second or third time? Why do they make a mess and lay they clothes everwhere (insert laughing b/c I am not so good at putting my 10 pairs of workout/yoga clothes away)? Why do they want what they want? Why are they so adamant when they want the gloves vs. the mittens? Why do they jump on me when I just need a minute to breathe? Why do they actually want mom vs. dad when I am not patient and can be grumpy and unintentionally mean?
Oh, that is right, they are kids. They are simply being kids. They are little humans figuring out the world. They are watching our every move and word (gasp) and they are navigating a lot of things for the first time as they continue to have birthdays. And when I think about it that way, well, I think I might be a total jerk of a mom. And then I think again and say, wait, you are just a big human. You might be a grown up, but you are a kid when it comes to parenting. I have only been parenting as long as my oldest has been a kid. Funny how that works right? So isn't it fair to think that I might screw up, not be patient, and have learning to do too?
The answer to that is yes. I must remember that I am learning as mom, and my kids are learning as humans (brother, sister, friend, student, grandchild, neighbor, etc.). And when I remember that I am still learning, my shoulder softens and my face relaxes. Maybe I am doing an okay job after all. Maybe I am trying too hard to not yell and at the same time setting myself up to fail as a mom because I want it neat or I want them to "listen the first time" or I want them to just roll with it. How can I expect them to do that if I am not a role model of these exact things? And then I think to getting dressed in the morning. Why is it such a struggle? Obvious. Why do us big-kids like to stay in our pajamas on Sunday mornings or the mornings of holidays and have an extra cup of coffee and snuggle in? Because we are human and it feels so flippin good, especially when it is so cold that your clothes and dishes are cold from being near in outside wall (thank you Minnesota winter).
As I was reflecting on parenting after a decent morning last week it still was filled with a parenting "incident" of tension and a perhaps some raised voices by both parties (we won't say who started it). I reread a text I got from my coach and why I get so frustrated with my kids. She reminded me oh so gracefully that each time I give resistance everything regarding parenting is going to be that much harder. And on top of it my body will be filled with cortisol, which we all know isn't awesome for the health or the waistline. And then I smiled when I read this because my latest test results at my physical show a very similar hormone panel as last fall. Thus, I would imagine that if I tested my cortisol again it might be a little low as it was early 2016. Why? Because I am using it all up getting so darn mad at the the little things.
So then why resist all of it? Why try so hard? Why not be more effortless? Why not roll with it and instead of resist do the opposite, be at ease? Allow for them to not listen to me the first time but still encourage respect and kindness. Because that will only make me healthier, their hearts less beat up from intense parenting/kid moments, and our house a happier place.
The above sounds nice right? Be at ease? But like my sister always encourages me to to do with everything I asked myself, what is the root cause of my impatience? The last parenting moments I have been aware and I think I nailed the biggest reason for me at this current time in my parenting journey (or learning). I am not patient with them because I am not present with them. Not because my phone has a bigger appeal, but because I am thinking about various responsibilities that distract me and are the farthest from parenting and the present moment. Examples: I might be thinking about the class I teach at 6 a.m. that I am not prepared for or something that I know is coming fast regarding an obligation/to-do. Or what about about the pressure of am I moving fast enough with my business or when can I get a shower in? Or how about what the heck is for dinner and what about lunches? Do I really feed them that again? And the examples could go on and on.
You know that feeling of being behind and never prepared. That is a huge distraction for me and impacts how patient I am with the kids. Thus, it is one thing for me to say, "I am going to parent with ease, stop resisting and let us learn together because we are all kids." And it is another to set this intention with the awareness of my triggers and instead of try to battle these, avoid them all together (as best as possible). I am sure I could get a long list of what sets me off (one that pops in my head is making lunches, cleaning up, making breakfast, getting us all ready, and helping with homework all in an hour's time...no wonder we are late and I feel like a volcano when we are done). Additionally, attempting to carve out the time I need to be prepared for teaching, family business, writing and more! It is not going to be perfect, but I am willing to do the dance and honor both my children and their learning and my parenting learning as well. I will try to ease up and resist less; it is worth a try in my mind especially for the love and trust these little munchkins give me.
What are your parenting battles? Are you constantly doing the same thing or beating yourself up for not being perfect? I am sure we all have them; parent guilt is real. And if you don't have kids, what are your battles that get you all hot and heavy? What makes you mad and actually deters you from being at ease, ultimately impacting your day and overtime your health? Become aware and curious. Be kind. And most import, remember you are a learning too. Isn't that the fun of life?
In love, light, and gratitude (and hopefully ease),