The other night we ended up watching a Cesar Milan episode on TV. Ally will stop at anything with a dog. In the episode, he talked about projecting the right energy to your dog. The same could probably be said about my kids. When Cece and I get at loggerheads, Michelle likes to remind me that I’m the adult and that maybe it’s not always her, maybe she is reacting to me. To my energy.
As someone that works remotely and spends most of the day alone, she might have a point. I’m not letting the kids completely off the hook, sometimes they are just little monsters, but looking in the mirror first is probably a better teen management tactic than actually speaking first. I’m quickly learning that even my most innocuous comments can provoke.
Check the mirror, check the energy. If I can show them that things are good with me, they might be better with everyone else.
A better week but still not easy. One bright spot? This NPR interview with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day author Judith Viorst. Like all the great children’s books there are layers of meaning that can aid both adult and child. One of the reasons I love this book is that there is no judgment of Alexander’s behavior.
As a Dad, I often to want to correct things or make things better for the girls. That’s not always possible as Alexander reminds us. And that’s OK. Sometimes it’s good and necessary to just sit with our emotions. The current always-on, look-over-here, life hack culture makes this difficult (by design). But it’s important to remember that you don’t always need to immediately fix something and that having a bad day is a (necessary) part of life.
Around New Year’s it’s impossible not to think about time. Time missed. Time passing. The last year brought an avalanche of missed trips, missed moments, and missed milestones but sitting on the couch New Year’s Eve trying to fit in one last glass of champagne before a dry January, it was easy to remember that if you are only looking for the big events, you’re missing a heck of a lot.
My parenting resolution for 2021 is to not forget that feeling, to not to constantly look for an Instagram result and just try to enjoy the daily parenting… struggle and take some reward from that. It’s easy to have this thought bleary-eyed with a glass of champagne, probably harder on Tuesday afternoon juggling Zoom log-ins and sixth grade science slides talking about thermodynamics.
But better to go for the obvious, big parenting belly flop than something completely unrealistic like getting the girls to actually shut off lights when they leave a room. Continue Reading
Halfway through Christmas Day’s Zoom extravaganza, I had a (fleeting) moment of empathy for our outgoing president. He appears to constantly inflict self-harm on himself by believing there is something lacking despite being given everything. This insecurity, beyond being exhausting, must be far worse than any actual deprivation. The worry is always worse than the reality.
It seemed like an important lesson to try to teach them while they were young. Help them understand that they are good enough without a day filled with gifts. What they have is enough. What they are is enough.