Oh, spit. It’s only Tuesday.
Akiva and I have been locked in battle ever since my in-laws left last Wednesday. I chalk it up to the combination of two normal circumstances: that he’s less close to me when they are around because they are trying to give me a break, and that they are his grandparents and therefore fairly indulgent. When they leave, then, it’s a rude awakening for him not to be the center of the universe, and we are less in harmony with each other because I’ve been detached, taking a break.
Since their departure, his expectation that the world revolve around him is heightened, and with it my irritation at what’s probably normal four-year-old behavior. I am trying to work with him on asking for what he wants with a friendly voice and polite words. I haven’t been very patient, though, about letting him learn these new habits at his own pace. I know I’m not doing a great job right now, but the feeling of annoyance at being ordered about, whined at, yelled at, called ‘stupid’ and all the rest has gotten the better of me. It’s stolen my Mama Mojo, if you must know.
We’re headed down to North Carolina in a few days for a week’s visit with my in-laws, and I dread not only being on the road when I don’t have my best strengths and how incredibly horrible he’s likely to be when we get back!
In general I feel a little lost, like things are swirling around me but I don’t quite have a spiritual center. So many small irritations are arising, and I feel like my inability to handle them, my inability to enjoy even the simplest things, are probably an echo of our visit with my parents, who somehow manage to make this amazing life seem like a series of inconveniences.
I’ve been pondering a great many things — whether I’m truly thinking for myself as I go about my life. I’ve always been quite authority-dependent, looking to others for approval and guidance about how and what I should be doing. I was always the good kid; my need to hear “good job” or get an A+ on the report card kept me on the path of (self-)righteousness. In some ways it’s still an active dynamic in my world. For example, I cottoned onto attachment parenting & positive parenting as a way to keep my controlling tendencies at bay, essentially as a way to avoid becoming my mother. It’s a useful antidote, to be sure, but at times I wonder if I would be doing what I’m doing if I were truly thinking for myself. There is a part of me that desperately wants a program to follow, as if that might help me avoid becoming a mindless follower of deeply ingrained patterns. But is it better if I’m just becoming a mindless follower of external directives? I didn’t think so.