I like it when bits of my life, or interests let’s say, overlap. I’m beginning to see the mindfulness / parenting link come together. I’ve been reading a book called “mindfulness in life” and doing my (supposed) daily meditations. I think something might have clicked recently. About how I can only control my feelings/ thoughts/emotions and can do nothing about those of others. A friend said something to me this week which could have knocked me sideways and dinted my confidence. But strangely for me I didn’t absorb the emotion and take it on as my own. I was upset but quite quickly was able to stand back and observe it, if you get what I mean. This is really hard to write down.
Janet Lansbury (respectful parenting) talks about acknowledging your child’s emotion but not taking it on and feeling like you have to do something about it. So she might recommend saying “you’re really upset that I didn’t let you have more chocolate” and let the emotion pour out as needed (by the child…we’re meant to stay “unruffled”!). Being quite nonchalant gives the child the message that this isn’t a big deal; this behaviour is quite normal and we can handle it. If we connect too much with the problem by either getting upset with the child or going completely the other way and trying to fix it, our child may keep pushing until he feels we can stand firm and handle it.
So, H likes me to be just there, always has (and I hope always will but very much doubt it!!). Recently with having two of them being very needy I’ve been feeling a little claustrophobic and have been reacting to situations, even a few swear words here and there. I’ve been really tired with F checking in to the all night diner and with being in Northern Ireland, we’ve had no nursery respite. Paddy too has been less than unruffled. I haven’t liked the way I have been. I know that my responses to H have fuelled his behaviour.
This morning felt different though. Our kitchen is connected to the breakfast room, where a few of his toys were laid out. He loves a bit cafe culture and often plays at taking our orders…”mericano mammy, and F a milk”. He knows me so well! So in short, I explained that I wasn’t able to play with him just then as I needed to clear up from breakfast…he got upset. As he was cutting strawberries I explained that I was going to get F a vest…he got upset and sobbed that he needed to come too. He dropped his pen and asked me to help him pick it up…it was just by his foot…I said I was unable to help as I was holding F…he got upset. As you may have guessed this rattled me, no denying that. Normally I’d be full of thoughts like “how come he can’t just go and play on his own” “why can’t he just let me leave the room for 2 minutes” “I just need to do the blooming washing up”!! Whatever the thoughts, I would be wanting to change the situation rather than accept it. So today I noticed my annoyance, even down to that swell of anger that takes over my chest. In noticing it I was able to respond rather than react. I labelled it in my head and it just kind of went as I carried on tidying away the cereals. Each time I acknowledged his upset. I explained that I would come through and play once I’d done my jobs but aside from this I just carried on regardless. It was his reaction, his emotion – I’d laid out my boundary clearly but kindly. Getting cross and telling him he should be able to play on his own is certainly not going to help. But accepting this is where we are; not feeling controlled by him and him getting the message that whatever he throws at me is not going to be a problem can surely only be a good thing for future connection and self development. As a result, despite this tricky time that H is going through and the challenges he’s thrown me, because of how I’ve reacted it’s actually been a really nice day and instead of the whining impacting on the whole day(which it sometimes can), it’s felt like the episodes were isolated, leaving us free to enjoy the times when he was being a delight to spend time with.