AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! AAAAAHHHHHHH! AAAAAAHHHHHHH! Oh that feels better, so much. Writing is cathartic.
Let me fill you in…
I’ve had a serene morning, (well, post dropping the kids off at school). I walked the dog on this sunny, crisp bright Floridian day, did a basic yoga class that was just yummy; gentle poses, magic yogi teacher hands; did most of it with my eyes closed. Then I came home and socked Anita Moorjani’s ‘Dying to be Me’ in my ears, and pottered from house chore to house chore. (Remember me talking to you about that book in “In the Name of Health’ post? It’s wonderful).
I was all hums and inner smiles and appreciative of the little things when I rolled up to pick my daughter up from pre-school. “Is your daughter always so good, even at home?” Sophie’s teacher asked as she gathered her bits. “Um, sometimes. But she is quite fond of tantrums.” I replied, glad I said ‘tantrums’ and not ‘earthquakes.’ The minute Sophie was out of teacher- earshot, the Sophie I know came out. The teacher gets Dr. Jekyll, I get Hyde.
It’s almost like being good at school for five odd hours is such an exertion that she can’t possibly keep the act up a moment longer than necessary. Or that my presence just majorly irks her. So we had disrespectful chat-back, no hug, no ‘hi mum!’ it was more of a, ‘oh god it’s you’ type thing.
Sophie’s disrespect turned into a full-blown tantrum- screaming- because I wasn’t feeding her desire to have a fall-out. I called Dad (hers, not mine:-) So now we have a family meeting scheduled for this evening to try and get underneath the reason for her attitude of late. That is, if there is anything to really get underneath. Is this just girls?
I’m a patient soft-centered kind of a girl but I do have to work to resist stinging back with my Scorpio tail when I’m really worn down in a combative situation.
Sophie was seemingly bound and determined to get Mrs. Scorpio out to play.
So, driving home, Sophie is more than a bit irritated that I got Dad involved. Fuel, Her and Fire spring to mind. She starts that eye-wincing high-pitched scream. Ouch.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Kids are the best spiritual teachers. The best. Or to put it another way; you think you’re happy? Throw a kid into the mix, see what they can come up with to pull you down.
I’d generated so much inner calm and peace that morning, both on and off the mat, yet this four year old was doing a bloody good job of trying to grapple it off me, as if her wee life depended on it. I wanted to yell back, to threaten to keep her in her room till she was old and grey. But I just told myself to breathe. 1,2,3,4 in, 1,2,3,4 out. At times it was almost like her manic shrills were causing my breath to get stuck in my throat.
I kept deeply, consciously breathing until we pulled into the driveway, as if this sacred act was the only thing keeping me from mummy-meltdown.
Just now she’s napping in her room, ahead of family meeting. I’m feeling pretty good that I managed to remain un-moveable, despite the erratic shaking and pushing from my sweet girl.
It reminded me of what Abraham Hicks says in his book with Dr. Wayne Dyer ‘Co-Creating at its Best.’ To paraphrase, when asked what one piece of advice he would give to parents he basically says that the most important thing is for parents to choose a disk- whether that be a disk of patience, compassion, love- before dealing with the situation and instead of letting the heat of the situation dictate how you deal with it.
For instance, in the example above, I may have chosen to play my compassionate disk. So I would have told myself, compassion is the space from which I am going to handle this from. Or I might have chosen patience (which is what I think I did). Point is, making this conscious decision at highly stressful times like these can stop those regrettable knee-jerk reactions which stem from ego. Using our breath to ground ourselves in the moment helps to buy the time and the space needed to come back to ourselves and choose an appropriate disk.
This advice of Abraham’s is a bit like what Rumpelstiltskin does in the ‘Shrek Forever After’ movie, except he alludes to the pre-mood-selection-setting as a wig instead of a disk. Before dealing with a situation or conducting himself publicly, Rumpelstiltskin chooses an appropriate wig. If he plans to get angry, he asks the witches to hand him his angry wig, before giving a speech he requests his speech wig and so on.
Another paraphrased tip from one of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time, Eckhart Tolle is this: Don’t internally battle with the sound, try not to clench or constrict, as if the sound was banging into your wall of resistance. Think of yourself instead as transparent, and the sound flowing through you. This I’ve tried over the years and it really is helpful. Particularly with these eye-watering shrills my daughter is apparently uber attached to.
How I handle conflict is a work in progress; sometimes-like today- I remember to utilize friction-handling-tips like this and other times I let the situation and my ego run the show, which always sees me eventually stewing in regret and later apologizing for my part at least.
One thing we parents know is that we’ll get plenty of opportunity to try out these pieces of advice. Kids, at least, come with that guarantee:-)
Here’s to our endeavors to hold the peace! Let us pummel pillows once all- cleared from the situation, or express that inevitable AAAAAAHHH-ness creatively. Every cloud, after all…
oh the bright side of life is beautiful and can burn! We have two boys…and let me just say they bring me happiness and anger too! It is a moment by moment intentional and interactive adventure as a parent for sure! We had a family meeting yesterday morning about Nerf gun wars! There are seasons of all sorts of issues…we make it…day by day…with love and grace. 🙂 Jenn p.s. I think you’re totally right…the kids hold together for their teachers and let their guard down at home when they just can’t be “good” anymore.
Thanks so much for your comment, Jenn, I do love to hear your opinion. I love how you put it ‘It is a moment by moment intentional and interactive adventure for a parent.’