parenting

Parenting with a clean slate

cleanslate

What are the first four words you don’t want to hear as soon as you walk into the kitchen in the morning? Today, for me, it was “we’re out of coffee”. What!? How is this even possible? This is 2018. Amazon delivers our coffee pods like clockwork. Something went awry. But we have those make your own coffee pods and regular coffee, right? Nope. I decided our new kitchen needed a new Keurig and those don’t fit in the new machine. I opened the cupboard and there it was. The sample set that came with the new Keurig. So officially I saved the day, right? You betcha.

Today is my day off. Aka, the day I schedule all those pesky appointments that sound ok when you make them months ago. Today was mammogram day. I always like to get the earliest appointments but this morning I was cursing myself because I really wanted to lie in bed for a while even though I have so much to do to prep for the holidays that are coming at us fast. On my way home from the appointment, I did a quick swerve into Walmart to stock up on Pike Place Keurig pods. I am going to hide some in our bedroom just in case this happens again!

Lately I’ve been thinking of how to reboot myself, coffee jokes aside. On the roller coaster of life, things have been a little too exciting (not in a good way) lately. Lots of bumps with Liam, my twelve year old. I think we’re doing well and then a whole spate of issues crop up. Behavior. Teacher interactions. Peer interactions. Parent interaction. Screen time issues. No one is behaving as I want them (son or husband)! A couple weeks ago I picked him up at the end of the school day and he came to the car without his coat on and flat out refused to go get it. It was a Friday. It’s December. I didn’t want him to go the weekend without his winter coat. It was a battle of wills and I ended up going to get the coat. Did I mention I’m wearing a orthopedic boot on my foot and had to hobble my way to his locker?

I wish this is where I rush in and tell you how this turned into a pivotal moment where I suddenly had all the answers to pre-teen parenting. But this did not happen. It was just another moment we had to plow through and then come to terms with. Clean the slate and start again. We were at a crucial time in our relationship though, when there was nothing left to take away from him to curb his behavior. He’d lost his iPad (nearly a year ago), his laptop (we reluctantly bought him to do his schoolwork), his Kindle (he had less than a week), his phone (which he rarely had access to anyway). We were limiting his TV time and the home computer was off limits.

What was left? I took him to his therapist and we talked about all the things we always talk about. And then we gave him everything back. His iPad. His laptop. His Kindle. His phone. Could this possibly be the answer? Easing up on all the limits we had placed? It’s only been a week and things are going OK. He is more likely to listen to us (at least for now) and shut things down when we ask. He is a good kid who doesn’t always know how to manage his emotions. I am a parent without any of the answers but I’ve been doing it long enough to know that if you keep trying the same things expecting to get different results, you’re basically dealing with the definition of insanity.

I accept (but don’t like) the fact that this is a time in our lives that is going to be highly unpredictable. All of our emotions are going to run high from time to time. And although there has been much stress of late, there have been many good times in between. We have to remember to take a deep breath, clean the slate and move forward. This too shall pass.

MC

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