Saturday, June 4, 2011

Roll with it, Baby!

I’m still learning, STILL figuring out that growth doesn’t occur in a straight line.  All of life seems to be a lot of zigzagging and ups and downs.  And as soon as you think you have “made it”, there’s another “it” to conquer or you back slide and have to do it over a different way.   I’m a very goal oriented person in a goal oriented society and the expectation of aiming to arrive somewhere and then being “done” has caused so much needless stress in my life.  But through parenting and educating my children, I’m finally starting to get it.  I know that kids learn new skills then regress.  It happened with sleeping through the night.  It happened with potty training.  It happened with learning to sleep alone.  I thought we were done with tantrums and then they came back again.  But I didn’t expect it to happen with my young adult son.  At 19, I thought I was mostly done parenting him.  Nope.  It feels like he needs me more than ever in some ways.  At the same time he needs me to let go.  It’s a tricky balance to strike and one I wasn’t prepared for.   I was also not prepared for the gut wrenching worry.  Life is so full of surprises!
A truly valuable skill to have, especially if you are raising kids, is the ability to “roll with it”.  The ability to calm yourself when things don’t work out as planned is worth buckets of gold.  The ability to set goals and make plans is important but in the end, it’s the person who can come up with a Plan B, without freaking out, that is going to be successful and a lot less stressed.
This skill is best learned by kids who have parents to model it for them everyday.  Yes, once again parents, you have to be the change you want to see in your children.   This is especially hard when it’s your child’s behavior that is disrupting your best laid plans.  Take lots of deep breaths.  Take a big step back.  Think before you speak.  Wait a minute for that anxious feeling to settle down a bit.  Let go of your expectations and accept that something different is going to happen than what you planned.  My new mantra is “Roll with it baby!”  My family and my health are better for it.  (But only when I can remember to follow my own advice, that is.)