Tag Archives: parenting

The Flow of All Things


I lost my temper again today.
It took a moment,
but I was able to forgive myself
for my outburst
and my son
for his sneakiness.
I had been helping my daughter
with her homework
and my son
–against my wishes–
had taken the iPad*,
sneaked it up into his room.
I felt so frustrated
with his dishonesty
and so responsible somehow,
like it wouldn’t have happened
if I could have kept better track of him…
but how can I be in two places at once?
After I got over myself enough
I took my two children to the park;
it was 66 degrees, in February,
can you believe it?
I watched them ride their bikes
in a loop of sidewalk,
down a hill then up a hill,
watched other children
playing, laughing,
so exuberant, full of energy.
Back home,
instead of slipping into
my default mode of feeling
overburdened by dinner preparation,
I enlisted the aid of my children.
I was amazed to see
how happy they were
to help.
I wondered what else I’ll discover
about my two bright little ones
(and myself)
when I let go of the need
to be in control
and open to this moment,
to them,
to the flow of all things.

*Now, if you’re asking yourself “What’s the big deal?  It’s just a kid being sneaky with an iPad,” let me explain that we’ve had multiple conversations about how spending large amounts of time on the iPad will do nothing for his wonderful mind.  He also has been acting like a big time jerk face after spending too much time on the device–disrespectful, moody, whiny, throwing toys, taking swings at me. I thought it was important to take a break from it today and let him know this; he stomped and shouted and was in general very rude to me in response. So maybe you can see now why it would trigger me that he would go and sneak off with the thing when I was helping my daughter with her homework.  If you’re a parent who never loses your temper, tell me how you do it.

Returning to Sanity


I kept admonishing myself
for losing it with my kids.
Feeling guilty, ashamed,
a failure as a parent.
And then I realized,
it’s normal to lose it.
Because I’m human,
because sometimes I’m tired,
overworked, overwhelmed,
it just happens.
And as I began to cultivate acceptance
for my own humanness,
it occurred to me
that the goal isn’t
to never lose it with my kids.
The goal is to gradually learn
how to recognize my own insanity
as it arises
and restore myself to sanity
as best I can.
The goal is to acknowledge
the mistakes I have made
and do my best to make amends.
And so I ask for my kids’ forgiveness
when I lose it with them.
And as they forgive me
I start to see that I can forgive me too.

Being a Mother


Until we question our beliefs
we will operate unconsciously from them.
Today I questioned the belief
that my job as mother
is to make my child get her homework done.
I offered her guidance,
I put the tools in her hands,
I instructed her,
clarified the directions,
I gave her reminders.
Then I raised my voice.
Then I apologized for raising my voice.
Then, after dinner, we tried again.
And still she wouldn’t finish her homework.
She said, “I don’t want to do any more.”
I found myself growing angry again,
until I realized that the battle
was in my own mind.
I created this war,
and now I can end it.
I said to my daughter,
“It’s your homework. It’s your choice.”
And like that,
I was giving her a hug,
telling her how much I love her,
doing my job–
being a mother.

Writing My Own Story


Reading a book to my daughter,
a children’s story
beginning with the Irish Potato Famine
and a boy’s journey to the US…
and ending with a young girl
seven generations later,
being told by her grandfather
that the story will live
as long as someone is telling it…
My voice quavers, and I
just can’t keep reading
without that tremor of emotion
in my voice,
tears  bubbling up
to the surface.
My daughter looks at me, questioning.
I tell her,
“It’s so good, it’s making me cry.”
And I’m looking into her eyes,
doing this laugh-cry.
And she doesn’t know what to do,
so she laughs and keeps looking at me.
And I think about how we’ve been told
that showing emotions is weak.
And I think, No…this is not weak.
It would be weak to pretend
I’m not feeling something,
that my heart has not been touched
by this sweet story,
weak to cover up what I’m feeling
because I’m too afraid to be vulnerable
in front of my six year old daughter.
I was strong…
I made it through to the end,
laughing, crying,
glad to be myself,
glad to share this moment
with my daughter–
feeling freely,
writing my own story.

For Everyone’s Sake


I was the one loudmouth parent
on the playground today,
the one asking the big kids
to be safe on the slides
so that the little kids
wouldn’t copy their dangerous moves.
I was the loudmouth
asking the ten year old girl
to stop throwing full bottles of water
at the playground equipment–
with a dozen other kids
playing close by, in range of her missiles.
I wondered why more adults weren’t
monitoring and stepping in…
I thought about bystander apathy
and how they must reason “It’s not my kid.”
I was a big loudmouth stranger to those kids,
but I ended up playing frisbee with a couple of them…
maybe, even though I was a nuisance to them,
stepping in and diverting their daredevil plans,
maybe they nonetheless respected me in some way,
as the one adult who saw them
and asked them to be safe for everyone’s sake.


P.S.  Do YOU tell other people’s kids how to act right when no one else is doing it?

Anger Questions


Caught in a cycle of anger,
bumping my head,
catching my finger in the latch,
feeling tired, hot, frustrated.
Angry outburst.
Apologies to my kids
for the angry outburst,
Wondering when the time will come
that I don’t believe in my anger enough
to have to let it fly out in my words
and actions.
Can I feel it without letting it fly?
Can I let it pass through me like a wave?