Friday, March 23, 2012

Unrushed and Present.


"Unrushed and present." I read this line in a parenting book and it really stuck with me.

I noticed this morning after I'd dropped off my older son at school and was out shopping with my younger son, how "unrushed" I am when I'm with just one of my kids. I'm so much more calm and unruffled. It's as though time slows down to accommodate our conversations, our schedule, our interactions. I thought, later, about how I could make time slow down like that when I'm with both of my kids.

Unfortunately my time machine is all out of magic bean juice at the moment.

So often I'm rushing through time, steering everyone through one thing and onto another, talking in fast, impatient sentences with the end goal always in mind like a programmed mom-bot. Coats on, coats off, dishes away, list ticked, emails sent, next. (Side note: I honestly think parents could teach organizational skills in colleges.) Sometimes that's just the way it is - we're often surging from one thing to another. I'm dropping off and picking up; I'm preparing the house before I leave for work; I'm packing bags for the following day; I'm squeezing a grocery run in between drop offs and pick ups.

And by the time I flop onto the sofa at eight in the evening I wonder where the heck the day went. I've been trying - really trying to enjoy more of those precious moments that happen during any given day, but there's still an awful bloody lot of rushing around. I'm resigned to the fact that that's the way it's going to be for the next few years at least.

But back to the book I'm reading: It's called Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected, by Susan Stiffelman, and it's really good. I picked it up at the library one day when I was having one of those Oh Gawd What Am I Going To Do moments that resulted from several weeks of fierce parent-child struggles.

I haven't made it all the way through the book yet (the disadvantage of trying to always read six books at once) - but so far it's given me lots of positive encouragement and sensible ideas. Especially in regards to not losing your sh*t every time your children challenge your authority. Honestly, it's really worth reading and I'd recommend it to any parent.

And - as is the proof of any good parenting book - I've been actually putting some of the ideas into practice: I've been using a no-nonsense, this-is-the-way-it-is-like-it-or-lump-it approach to situations, and as a result have been feeling much more serene and in-control about things generally. And when it comes to parenting, SERENE = GOOD. Always.

Example:

"MOM! MY SHOW HAS ENDED AND I WANT TO WATCH ANOTHER ONE!"

"No sorry, you're all done."

"BUT! BUT! BUT! IT'S NOT FAIR! I REALLY WANT ANOTHER ONE!"

"Nope. We're done with shows for today."

*SILENCE*

*MOVES ONTO SOMETHING ELSE*

No engaging in conversations about why or if, just straight-forward clarification. 

Of course the calm doesn't always happen, but it's good to try.


And when that fails?


I'll give you a clue: it has four letters and rhymes with "mine".



The opinions expressed in this post are all my own. I received no compensation for mentioning the book.
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2 comments:

Emma said...

Oh what a timely book recommendation. Things have gotten a little out of control over here... Thanks!

Paging Doctor Mommy said...

I may need to check out that book real soon just to work on my own sanity! Otherwise, there may be too much of that "mine" rhyming word consumed around here!