Peace. Calm. Quiet. Stillness. Tranquility. Harmony.
None of these words apply to me lately. It’s been more like: Noise. Chaos. Disturbance. Dare I say, hullabaloo.
I love the idea of being a peaceful parent, a peaceful person. Truth be told, I just can’t seem to find the peace this week. (Well, maybe longer.) Take this morning for example. From the moment my daughter opened her eyes, it was clear she was having none of my “time to get ready for school” bullshit. Every word out of my mouth was met with an angry attitude. Gee, I’m SO sorry that I asked you what you wanted for breakfast. The morning chaos came to a head when my daughter got mad at me for something (breathing?), slammed the bathroom door and locked herself in, only to find that she didn’t know how to unlock it. And there was no way to unlock it from the outside. (After her initial panic attack, she got the door unlocked.)
Here are the words she heard me say this morning:
“Put your darn shoes on.”
“Hurry! You’re going to miss the bus!”
“HELLO? Did you hear me?”
“That’s it. No TV tonight.”
Needless to say, I dragged a crying kid to the bus stop.
So much has been like this lately: Homework, chores, bedtime, getting dressed, eating dinner–all a struggle. And how am I handling it? I’m feeding the fire. It’s almost as if I can’t help myself. There’s yelling and punishment and even worse, hands thrown up in the air in defeat and exasperation. I see my parenting weaknesses, feel the lack of control-both self-control and control of the situation, and I become my worst self. I feel the failure and the guilt that goes with it. Where is the peace in that?
I know that kids go through phases. With so much going on getting used to a new school year, a new teacher and second grade responsibilities, who can blame her for acting out? This struggle is a phase. Maybe parents go through phases too. Right now, I must be in the phase where I roll my eyes and think “Stop being a little shit” in my head a lot. But I know myself. And I know that I will find my peace soon.
You know how I know that? Because, after all the drama this morning with grumpy kid and the door and running for the bus, we still were able to look each other in the eye and say “I love you” and hug. If there’s time for that, there’s time to find peace.