Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Just Around the Bend

Yesterday began with another power struggle over screen time.  This post isn't about that, or raising a tween, or whether excessive video gaming is harmful to kids, or helpful.  This is about the rage I felt when leaving the house, which dissipated into sadness, and then into resignation, or hopelessness.  My feet pounded the pavement as I would like to pound the walls and scream.  Parenting is hard.  Better to take it out on my soles rather than the souls for whom I am accountable.

Instead of turning back at the halfway mark, I kept going.  Around the aquarium, the sounds of Lakeshore Drive get a little softer.  To the end of the peninsula and around the planetarium (the rocket ship museum, my little one calls it) it is suddenly quiet with only the call of the occasional seagull and the lapping of the waves.  This is the place I get to when I let everything go.  I sat and watched the horizon as the great emotions slipped away, leaving a sense of clarity in its place. 

Remembering the slogan, "feelings aren't facts", I laughed to myself.  That used to annoy the hell out of me when someone would tell me that.  "But they're valid aren't they?"  I would whine.  Today, it's so good to know that I can get to the place where the feelings pass and then I can think clearly.  From here, I turn towards home with confidence as a parent, and great love for my children.

I can't always get away to pound the pavement.  To go far enough around the bend for all the crazy to melt away.  So I try to remember these moments.


What do you do to find clarity?


  1. I appreciate your writing. I read or walk or listen to music when I need clarity. Biking or hiking helps, too, but like you I cannot always leave to go do those things when I need to.

  2. Being a teacher, I have to have clarity all the time (or at least I feel I have a responsibility to have clarity all the time). A former colleague that I respect told me what she would do when she was ready to yell/scream at the class or students. She kept a picture of her children and later her grandchildren on the back wall of her classroom. Whenever she felt she was going to lose it, she would look at the picture and breathe.

    I use this in the classroom and have found it really helps. As for in my home with my children, it is not so simple. I can't always get out of the house and being a mother, we always find ourselves having to work on the fly. I try my best to breathe. I will play in my head the song 'Just Breathe' by Anna Nalick (the chorus). Then when I'm ready, I take a deep breathe and talk quietly.