Turning The Shoulds That Burden You Into Tools You Can Use.
The ShouldStorm in parenting is the swirling mass of advice and criticism we experience as parents, that drives us to feel anxious and overparent. Sometimes it is the advice itself that’s the problem, because it reinforces the basic ideas that create perfectionism and anxiety. But sometimes it’s not the advice at all. It’s how we hear it, or how we use it. We get to choose: parenting worries or parenting toolkit?
It’s the crack of dawn, and your kids are up. AGAIN. What does it mean to have an early riser? Some kids get up as early as 430am every day, frustrating their tired parents. How do you deal with early risers?
We hear a lot about how we mom’s struggle with putting our families first so much that we neglect ourselves. We do it because we feel we need to, we don’t see another option or we don’t see how it will all get done otherwise. Questions of our own worthiness pester us as we focus on raising our families. We all know that in the craziness we are trying so hard to give them what they need, but is it enough? Are we enough?
Despite hours of waiting at lines at Disney World, there is no way around it: Disney is one of my favorite family trips. That’s because Disney is just different. The grounds are clean, and so is the language people use. There are very few people pushing, you are surrounded by people who are generally reasonably happy and enjoying time with family.
We drove an hour from our hotel to get to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Our younger son had spontaneously come up with what must be this generation’s version of “Are we there yet?” He kept asking “How many miles left?” He was keeping count and insisted I check the GPS to give him an accurate number. It was both cute and irritating.
Trick-or-treat! It’s a few days after Halloween and your adorable fairy-princess-witch-super-Star Wars-ninja just collected a pillow case full of Halloween candy. You know how bad all that sugar is. What is a responsible parent to do?
Where we grew up, there were still lots of older homes with no central air conditioning. The summers were hot and humid. There were a few activities you could sign up for at the middle school, but they weren’t all day camps. There were morning swimming lessons in the freezing cold community pool, but after that there was not much to do. The kids that were around did tend to spend a lot of time inside using their Nintendo’s. We already knew our mom was a little different from the other moms. She made us eat whole-grain bread and natural peanut butter, and our snacks were pieces of cheese and fruit. We didn’t get free access to hostess cakes like our friends did. Our TV time was limited, and we had never owned a Nintendo.
“The seagulls sure are beautiful, Mom,” said one of my kids on our first evening at the beach in Florida. “Yeah, they are pretty cool,” said the other. “It’s like Finding Nemo!” The two of them started chirping: “Mine Mine Mine Mine.”
I always loved my father’s stories about his glory days as a runner. He was tall and lanky, an ideal build for a distance runner. He ran in high school, and he was later recruited as a runner in college. That scholarship was his path to an engineering degree at a good school. He used to love to tell stories about his races. His favorite races were the ones he nearly lost, when he came from behind and sprinted past the leader for the win. For my Dad it was always the joy of the contest.I was just the worst runner. Just terrible.
The weather was nice and the kids were being annoying.
They had been playing in the house so nicely all morning. But now they were following me around whining about being bored. All three of us knew this was really a ploy to see if they could get extra screen time. It never ceases to amaze me how hard they try for this, even though it never works.