I’d love to be holding the perspective of, “Excellent - more family time!” but to be honest my current perspective goes something like, “not sure we’re all going to make it out alive…”
We all know that being a parent is like that. Moments of pure joy and moments of pure exasperation in equal measure. Of all the things I’ve tried my hand at, I think parenting has been the most humbling.
We’ve been working on patience, self-control, calm voices, a respectful tone...and that just from the adult.
Doing my on-demand yoga class this morning, the teacher asked us to set an intention for our practice that we might want to carry with us through the day. The word GENTLE came to mind, a desire to be more gentle with my kids.
(this as they wandered around the living area where I do my yoga practice)
I have a habit of tolerating and tolerating and tolerating, and then just losing my shit. I need to remind myself that patience is not the same as tolerance.
To be honest, losing my shit, for me, does not usually mean screaming and yelling (though sometimes it does). Losing my shit more often looks like saying NO.
No, you can’t do that; No, I won’t do that for you; No you may not eat that; No you may not play that. JUST SIT THERE AND BE QUIET, WILL YOU?
Okay, so perhaps there is a little yelling involved.
My favorite day of vacation so far was the day we went to the library. They all came home with a pile of books and spent the rest of the day engrossed in comic strips, WWII biographies and Harry Potter.
I don’t want to make them live in a mausoleum, but that is the vibe that I do best with.
I want their world to be vibrant and alive with bent-over laughter and camaraderie. I want them to be dancing and moving and catching balls on the fly. I want them to be making messes and creating and losing track of time.
I want all of that.
So, how do I create space for so much aliveness without shredding my own need for quiet and stillness?
Perhaps my intention of GENTLENESS is a good starting point. As in, start being easier on myself - and on them. I am not going to be perfect at parenting. They are not always going to remember to talk and move quietly when I’m doing yoga.
I can also be intentional about creating space for what we need: making space for walks in nature for me, making space for energetic banter for someone else, making space for quiet writing time for me, making space for twirling and sliding and toss games for someone else.
From an intentional and gentle place, I find myself becoming more supple, more willing to be with what is here (all of us!) rather than fighting against it.
What’s here now? Well, I’m holed up in my bedroom, dressed and under the covers with earbuds stuffed into my ears. Underneath the music in my ears, I hear banging coming from outside as my daughter works on a woodworking project for school. I hear the muffled sounds of quick footsteps on tile as the boys play an indoor game of soccer w/ a stress ball.
I drink in the absence of conflict, the absence of complaint, knowing they will make an appearance eventually.
For now, I enjoy the company of the cat at my feet. Curled up in a ball, she makes suppleness look easy.
In what areas do you find yourself more rigid than you would like? How might you invite in more suppleness?
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.