So how do the kids of a psychotherapist and trained parenting educator act? Well, if you were at my house today, you’d see a raging three-year-old kicking me, calling me “stupid” and you’d be pouring me some tea and providing a shoulder for me to cry on.
My day today consisted of many crying spells. I’m not too sure why but every time my son threw something, I broke into tears. Maybe there is a threshold for how much aggressiveness and back-talking a parent can take, and I’ve just tipped over that.
Perhaps the hardest thing for me is that I have read the books, can teach the techniques, know the words, facilitate the workshops, but some days cannot be strong enough to withstand the periodic pure hardness of raising kids. My children are just like yours: they have good days and not so good days. Every child has a unique personality and a growing brain, and my career choice doesn't influence that.
I spend my days with my two young sons, one of whom goes to public school every other day. My husband is with them a day and a half a week, which is when I do my parenting gig, and I have them the rest of the week. We tend to spend most weekends all together. I admit there have been days I wanted to curse the smiling mom who told me she loves coming home to a clean house, tired kids, and supper on the table all thanks to her nanny. I don't regret being home with my kids but I guess there are times I am envious. I know this feeling is emotional flooding which tells me I need more rest.
So on this day in the life of a "parenting expert," I’ve done what you all know to do without my advice—“get by with a little help from my friends”—actually my sister to be specific. I have dragged my droopy, mascara streaked face over to her house, and feel better already.
My quick-to-anger son is happily playing with his cousin and, if you saw him now, you would think he is the loveliest, most polite, beautiful boy. I’m doing what my instincts (not advice from a book) are telling me to do—write. And my sister just gave me the best suggestion, “Maybe you two are just spending too much time together. Why don’t I take him a half day a week?” Amen, sister.
There is a reason my number one piece of advice to any parent is the more rested you are, the more able you will be to parent from your heart. Patience is the ticket to getting through tantrums, back-talking, and other kiddie challenges. In order to be patient, we need to be rested.
So, to help myself recover from being tipped over the tantrum-edge, this "parenting expert" is going to pour a glass of wine, chat with my sister, and completely ignore my children. Then I will find people to hang out with my beautiful sons so I can regroup.
—This photo is of me doing my favourite yoga pose which reduces fight or flight and helps calm the body. The pose is called, "feet up the wall." My little guy just couldn't help but stop and give me a big hug.