We’re driving home today from school and my little guy starts fussing.
“Jacket (pause) OFF, Mommy.”
I glance in my rearview mirror and he’s pulling at the hood of his big, puffy green winter jacket (it was 34F here today!) and struggling with his car seat buckle and making adorable grunts of frustration. He's spitting out the fur getting in his mouth from the hood.
“Baby we’re ten minutes from home, can’t you wait?”
“NO! Jacket (pause) OFF!” Tears and adorable snorts ensue.
Now normally I would just roll my eyes to myself and assure him he’s going to be just fine until we get home, I’m not pulling over just to take his jacket off.
And then I remember this podcast I was listening to about being in the present.
About bringing comfort and joy, as much as you can, pull it all in, right here and right now. Not in ten minutes or ten hours or ten seconds. If there’s something you can do to make yourself feel better now, do it. Now! What are you waiting for? I mean, don’t get fired or anything, but if you can do little things to make it better until you can get off work or get home or get to your happy place, do it!
I admit, I am the worst for this, the absolute worst. I am the Queen of ‘just get it done’ and speeding through and bearing down and putting that shoulder to the wheel and pushing until the job is done or I collapse with Pneumonia. (Hello three weeks ago).
So I turned up my car seat heater (what was I waiting for?) and we stopped at the Pet store so they could look at fish and when we get back in the van we take his jacket off and had a very pleasant rest of the drive home. That is, until we got home and he wanted to play outside and I said no because he smelled like his poo had poo'd. Dude needed a diaper change and I needed a Hazmat suit.
Once he knew I wouldn’t budge though, he said; ’Okay’.
After I picked myself off the garage floor I wondered if helping him be more comfortable now, when he needed it, helped him be in a better state of mind when he didn’t get to do something he usually always gets to do and enjoys very much, playing outside as soon as we get home.
I was certainly in a more patient state of mind having not listened to him fussing all the way home.
I love being a mom for a million reasons but one big one is that they push and pull and make me a better Angela. There is no shadow of your heart that goes untouched when you have kids – no unhealthy habit or old conditioning that isn’t working for you anymore that they won’t shed a light on.
So, thank you guys, I know you can’t read this yet but you make me better, just by being you. That goes for you too, Kait and Dyl.
Lastly, I have this print out poster from ‘Big Life Journal’ (biglifejournal.com) about raising resilient, kind and confident kids. I use them quite a bit to help bridge the gap in my parenting knowledge.
Anyway – I have this print out framed and set up in front of the stove where I am sure to see it at least twice a day, and it includes phrases that will help build a more resilient child. Phrases like, I love you, You can Do it, I Love Spending Time With You, etc.
Funny thing is, when I’m having a rough day, I say these things to myself and I feel better. It doesn’t make the screaming fits less loud or the fights over who gets the big basketball to play with any less annoying but it helps remind me I’m a smart, kind person and I may not be doing this perfectly but I’m doing my best and it’s enough. I’m enough. And so are they.