I guess I like control and having my own space when I’m cranky.
The boys antagonizing each other over breakfast didn’t help my mood. Parenting fail number two - yelling at their yelling - was in the books before 7:30am.
They were all out the door and off to school an hour later, and I had some time to myself. You would think this would be the perfect time to unwind myself and begin again. I had all sorts of options available: yoga, tea, meditation, writing, walking - to name a few.
Instead, my crankiness simmered, mostly as dissatisfaction aimed at myself.
Why is it sometimes hard to do the thing that will actually be helpful? I love writing, I love yoga, I love walking. Yet I couldn’t get myself to indulge in any of these positive coping strategies.
It’s like licking an anti-freeze popsicle, realizing it tastes horrible and is poisonous - and still not putting it down. No, I kept licking the popsicle and grimacing about the taste.
Eventually, I was able to stop licking it - which means I stopped berating myself about being cranky. I still didn’t put the popsicle down, though. Apparently, I wasn’t ready to not be cranky. So, naturally, it began to melt and run down my hand and arm…Sticky, messy, sour smelling. What will it take to put this thing down??
I fumbled around all morning, not getting much done or feeling great about how I was spending my time. I finally relented and asked myself the all too obvious question: what in particular is irking you about this?
And then it came to me: I want my kids to have permission to be imperfect; I don’t want them to spend time beating themselves up over things they could have done better. And I wasn't doing a great job of modeling.
Learning from one’s mistakes is different from beating oneself up over those mistakes.
So, I sit here and practice compassion for the part of myself that wishes I had been a better parent this morning. I also practice compassion for the part of myself that wants to slug her way out of mistakes, who wants to lick the popsicle out of spite. Underneath her hardass demeanor, I suspect she is afraid.
There’s nothing to be afraid of out here, love, I tell her. Each day is meant for learning and isn’t that a lucky thing.
What in particular is irking you today? And what is the learning there?
Jessica Curtis is a professional coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.