Monday, June 15, 2009


I went to bed last night with a great deal of introspection. We had a not-very-fun time with the kids. They were defiant and even insolent (is it not too early for that?). I was angry and loud.

I won't go into chapter and verse but suffice it to say when we arrived home from a short trip and we all went to our separate corners to compose ourselves.

We took away computer and television for the rest of the day. Without electronics as entertainment, we actually had a nice family time. We played 2 games of Battleship, 3 games of bingo and took turns building obstacles courses in the backyard and racing through them. We even had a homework session when the final TV show of the evening is normally on, which is quite exceptional. S, the TV addict, did make some noises, but she complied.

For my part, spending real quality family time was good penance.

So in the nocturnal hours when I usually make lists, or ponder swimming lesson conundrums, I took a hard look at myself.

It serves no one, least of all me, when I lose it. It is not making parenting easier and I'd wager to say I'm digging myself a bigger hole. I don't feel good about it and the lessons I need to be teaching the kids are being lost.

It is not easy for me to be calm in the face of such diabolical behaviour, but I am supposed to be the grown up.

So I resolved to:

React less.
Breathe more.
Let a little go.
Be more gracious.
Look at the big picture.
Not sweat the small stuff.
Count blessings.
Seize the day.
Laugh more.
Yell less.

I woke up with this new spirit of chill. I gave the kids an extra long morning hug. I didn't fret when J wasn't listening. I self-talked myself into this zen space, quite foreign to me. I even had a fleeting thought of taking a yoga class.

As if I needed any additional challenge to my new found chill-ness, S and I had grocery shopping on our list of things to do this morning. We were dropping off J at school when one of the Moms said "she sure has some energy this morning" (energy is Mommy-code for hyper). Hmmm. Shopping, maybe not such a good idea?

S is rather wiggly as we circumnavigate the store. A little impatience oozed into my voice but I caught it and am on solid chill-footing by the time we get to the checkout.

Then one of the frozen juice concentrates decided to squirt into the cart, over the floor. I requested some paper towel from the cashier. She handed me a roll with a few squares. I'm not sure where to start with the cleanup so I decide to work on the groceries as they are coming home with me and I'm not keen on everything being glued together with cranberry syrup. I told the cashier they we may need a mop for the floor. But I'm still chillin'.

The cashier comes to lend assistance. She snatched the paper towel from my hand and starts smearing cranberry juice across the floor as if to make the point that she does not need to call for a mop.

"Do you have more? I was still wiping my groceries."

"Yes, I have more. You need to chill out lady."

WHAT? I was flabbergasted. I was actually chilled out. I can't often say that, but at that moment, I am actually calm and purposefully not getting annoyed over a lot of red syrup on my groceries. (and who calls anyone lady anymore?)

"Seriously, did you just tell me to chill out?" I was not yelling or upset. I was, admittedly, dripping in sarcasm.

"Don't start with me lady, it's too early."

Then I lied.

"I don't tell my kids to chill out because I don't think it's polite".

"I was joking?? Can't you take a joke?"

If ever I need to go to chilling boot camp, I know who else will be there.

1 comment:

Ellie said...

Great post! I tried something like this the other day, after a worse-than-usual scene the night before. I told myself "I'm going to be calm today" and repeated it over and over like a mantra. I did actually help, but I can't maintain it successfully for long.

Well done with the grocery store guy. You reacted like a Zen Master, Lady.