When it comes to parenting, I think we are like my fluffy Goldendoodle; we are always on the wrong side of the door. It doesn’t matter if he’s been inside for only 2.5 seconds; he still wants to go outside. Whereas, when he gains his freedom, he’s immediately whining to be let back in the house.
I believe he is the dog version of a parent of teenagers. “There has to be a better way; surely it can’t just be this, day in and day out! And now there’s more of this because my kid is out of school for the summer. I must be doing something wrong, or I wouldn’t feel so frustrated all the time!”
You’re not doing anything wrong and neither is your kid. Whenever we have a change in circumstances, kids out of school, kids back in school, new marriage, divorce, or a new job, we think it should be business as usual; but it isn’t. It’s something new.
Change is difficult for most people, and downright painful if you’re a control freak.
As a reformed control freak, I know what it feels like to want to organize the crap out of your summer, and then being frustrated and disappointed when it doesn’t work out the way you planned. When we are faced with change, we want to hurry it along. We want to schedule things like our lives depend upon it, and it just doesn’t work.
It’s not any better on the other side of the door. We might as well accept where we are and begin to work with it.
Take last night, for instance. My baby (well she’s 5’10” and 15, but she’s still my baby) wanted to veg out in front of the T.V. This sounded grand, right up until my control freak started in on me: “You can’t spend the whole summer watching television! She needs to be productive! She needs to work on college applications, find a job, start packing for the impending move! You’re a horrible mother for letting her lay around! Don’t even think about joining her!” My reply was: “Dude; it’s the first week of summer, and she’s 15. Let’s relax and see where this goes!”
When I think about it, this side of the door is sweet. We are making memories. We are forging bonds that will carry us through the hard times to come, because there will always be hard times. Or, let’s say, painful times, because “hard” is a judgment. If we accept the painful times and look for the lesson in them, then they pass. If we label and judge them as unfair, hard, or exhausting, then we bind ourselves to them.
Whatever we resist, persists. If we accept the discomfort and just sit with it quietly, saying, ” All is well” or “Dude, relax”, then the discomfort eventually dissipates.
I tell my clients, and myself, “When you’re in pain, don’t try to distract yourself by looking for something better. Just breathe and let it be. Let it pass through you like a strong wind through a wind chime. Sure, it may rattle the chime, but there’s always beautiful music that emerges.
Discomfort and pain make their own music. They serve as a springboard from which to emerge wiser and humbled.
When we are constantly searching for something better, we lose the lesson that’s hidden in the crappy, ordinary things.
So, I let that Puritan guilt pass through me. My baby and I binge-watched Jane the Virgin (so freakin’ funny!), and nobody died in the process.
As I write this, I feel a sense of bliss that my 15-year-old WANTS to be with me. We are creating a united front for the future, when we might not have time to binge-watch TV and/or we aren’t even in the same town. Any time with my kids is not time wasted.
There’s nothing on the other side of the door that’s better than this.
P.S. If you need a little help with Lovin’ your Summer, or you just want to spend an hour with other moms who “get it”, join my next free call on June 10th at 12:00 p.m. Central Time. We’ll be chatting about “How to Keep Your Cool this Summer with Your Teen and Pre-Teen”. For all of the details and information on how to register—>head here.
P.P.S. I’ve had a couple of coaching spots open up, so go here if you want some support in taking your parenting life to the next level of bliss.