If anyone ever tells you that parenting is easy, please disregard everything that comes out of their mouth after that. Any parent who has had a child for any amount of time can tell you that it’s no walk in the park, and sometimes, you just feel like you’re going to lose it.
I had one of those moments the other day. I had done 3 separate pick-ups, all with the preschooler strapped in the backseat. By the time I returned home all of my children were tired and grumpy, I had a raging headache, and two of them had gotten into an argument over the placement of the emergency potty I keep in the van and had overturned its last few drops onto the carpeting. To top it off, an angry child blamed it on me.
To say I was fuming is an understatement. I could feel the anger welling up in me. At that moment my nervous system was on edge and I really could NOT access my calm. I needed some support.
So I pulled out what I call my backup tools. As soon as I got home I had my teen turn on the TV for my 3 year old. I used to feel bad about this, but I have learned that him watching a few minutes of television is infinitely better than me yelling at everyone to be quiet.
Second, I took some CBD. I like CBD because I can feel its effects quickly and it doesn’t have psychoactive properties like marijuana does. In other words, I can chill out without a buzz. It’s enough to help me feel safe in my body and not on the verge of exploding.
Lastly, I did some EFT tapping. This helps me to process my negative emotions and move them out of my body. It takes only a few minutes and helps me to get back to a place of emotional neutrality and even a positive outlook on what earlier only seemed bleak.
I used to feel really bad that I could not power through these moments. That I simply couldn’t take a deep breath and dive in and help everyone regulate their own emotions. The truth is, there are times when I don’t have the capacity for that. Some days I need to tend to my own dark feelings first and make sure I am calm. If that’s you too, I’m writing to let you know that’s okay.
When you first start your healing journey it will seem like there are a lot of these days. But the more we learn not to judge ourselves for being angry and just cope with our upset feelings the less angry we actually become. We don’t have to make up a story about how terrible we are for feeling angry. We don’t have to define ourselves by our worst moments, or by flickers of emotion that rise to the surface temporarily.
We can learn to observe our states, our emotions, objectively, and go from there. Once we remove the shame, the easier it is to solve the problem. And that my friend, is what I want to be known as. A problem solver. Not a wallower or a quitter or a “woe is me” damsel in distress. As Dumbledore wisely states in Harry Potter, “It is our choices that truly show what we are, far more than our abilities”.