On Hard Days

Today is a hard day.

There’s a cat that pranced along our back fence, and the dogs are screaming at the back door thinking it is still on their property.

The new recipe I am making tonight is non-existent as of 6:37 pm. I usually cook dinner at 5:30 so Lars can eat, bathe, and make it to bed by 8. Luckily, Mike is at the grocery store picking up the few things I forgot at the last grocery run.

Lars is upstairs watching his third hour of Kipper the Dog. And I feel horribly frustrated by this.

I despise most TV. I took many media studies classes in college and grad school, and I feel most of the time it is mindless noise with which life is better without. I like artsy films and slow paced children’s programming. I pretty much love anything by Focus Features if that helps to classify my media snobbery.

So it perturbs me immensely when my child wants to watch tv for long periods throughout the day. I feel like a failure to myself. He should be tinkering with the Magna Tiles or building a castle with his blocks. He should be reading our beautiful picture books, creating a story with his superior mind as we turn each page. He should be running in the back yard flying his new kite or digging in his sandbox or climbing his rock wall. He should be designing a marble maze or starting a non-profit to feed the homeless. Wait, what?

Yep, this is how it begins my friends. One day it is mommy guilt, the next is extreme expectations for your child.

When we start to hear all these “shoulds” coming out of our mouths, let’s step back and see it for what it is.

Projection  –  the unconscious transfer of one’s own desires or emotions to another person – can happen even with your kids.

When we as parents, especially the stay-at-home-kind, start to wonder about our value in the world, we can push our children to be something we feel we are not.

Am I writing enough? Am I reading enough? Am I present enough for Larsen? Am I doing enough to let the world know I exist?

Yes, we want to encourage our children, but I want to make sure I’m supporting him to be himself, to develop his personality naturally.

Yes, we want to believe in our children, but first we need to believe in ourselves.

As I let my monkey mind wind down, I see we did do all these things throughout the day – we played, built, read, exercised.

And while I am concerned about Larsen’s tv intake – too much creates addiction, being too rigid creates craving, once my heart has checked in with my head and some kind of understanding now exists over this issue, I see our day for what it is – it’s a hard day.

Today is a chance to practice my word I picked this year – ENOUGH.

I am a good enough mother. I am a good enough person. Why are my expectations for myself so high? Is this demanding spilling over to my son?

Yes, we watched a lot of tv today. But that’s ok. Some days are like that. (I can only imagine what parents are feeling about the amount of tv they’ve let their kids watch after three major snowstorms have hit back to back!)

Larsen is fed, cleaned, and utterly loved. He is probably happy he’s had a day off from Mom’s prodding. Maybe he thinks those days are the hardest.

I relax. The screens fade as another transition in our day burgeons on. Dad makes it home, we drink a glass of wine, finish making dinner, and I simply sit back observing what is good about now. Gratitude can change a situation.

I’ve taken the pressure off both of us for tonight.

There are many reasons love may not be flourishing in our lives, and a messy, demanding mind is reason one.”- Brenda Shoshanna

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