Consolation Thoughts

Resist Preoccupation

The good/enjoyable/pleasant parts of parenting (like coloring with our children or feeding them (well, that’s not always so fun) or laughing with them or playing tag or eating ice cream (yeah, not always the way you want it to go)) are supposed to balance out the parts that tend to be more unpleasant/unenjoyable (like all the poo, snot, and vomit—not to mention the messes, the noise, the crying, the screaming, the wailing, the meltdowns, the tantrums, and the general non-stop whirlwind of demands that life with kids brings).  Increasing our mindfulness helps us to stay present in the present—even when we’d rather escape the uncomfortable times.  If we slip into preoccupation, then we risk missing all the little “joy” moments that are meant to out-weight the “drag” moments.  Preoccupation might serve a purpose right-now-this-instant so that we don’t have to feel the weight of our life as it is right now, but it’s too easy to develop a habit of it (because it does do the job of transporting us away from this present unpleasantry) if that is our go-to strategy for coping with the stress of parenting.  The best thing we can do for ourselves (and our children) is to remain steady, stand strong, brave the storms, and hold on until the wave of whatever it is that causes us discomfort passes.  And as we continue to do the best we can do (you know, not lose it over and over again as much as we can help it) in spite of the challenges we come up against (kids don’t care that you’re tired or worn out or worn down—they just want what they want, so it’s up to us to assert ourselves respectfully and empathetically if we want them to learn where the boundaries are), then we can rest assured that we are doing everything we can to put the best kind of thing into motion.  (I was going to say ball of seeds, but that makes no sense without context: the idea is that we reap what we sow, so hence a seed.  Add that to the idea that something that is put into motion (like a ball) stays in motion.  So putting a ball of seeds into motion seemed to get the notion across that we get back what we give out.  It just sounds weird to say that, so I went with “kind of thing.”)  So here’s to us and the balls of seeds and kinds of things we put into motion day after day as we strive in a good way to grow the kind of family that is most beneficial to everyone who’s a part of it.