Hold Your Nose, If You Must

Originally posted on June 9, 2011


We all have defaults. Things we do without thinking. They pop right out of us in times of big emotions. Our defaults are EASY!

My defaults are the exact opposite of therapeutic parenting. Heck, they’re the opposite of “kind,” “compassionate,” “thoughtful” and “patient” on many days. Stopping myself from my default is hard. I have come to realize that I have to work on myself and why these are my defaults so that I can begin stopping myself.

I also have to grieve the fact that, no matter how many years I practice this process, it will always be a struggle and may always require effort. I will always find myself getting lax and slipping back into my defaults. That sucks. I want to get good at it and have it be easy. I want to not have to think about it so much. I don’t want it to be hard any more.

Yesterday I was able to talk to another mom and encourage her. I gave her some practical tips and I also bitched and moaned with her, because THIS STUFF IS HARD. I listened to all of the many things that some of you repeated back to me yesterday. I heard my words. I dealt with myself, and the things inside of me which make it so easy to be sucked into the vortex of my defaults.

Today, I woke up again to a little heart in a lot of pain. GUNS BLAZING. Straight out of the shoot. I chose to be playful.

I did not want to be playful. I did not want to smile. I wanted to make this kid cut the crap and stop beating me up emotionally just because I happen to be present. I wanted to be authoritarian and militant. I did not want to admit that I also have a responsibility in creating a safe space for their pain, and when I refuse to do it I make it worse.

I jumped in.

I jumped smack in there, and CHOSE to be playful, even though it went against every single fiber of my being today. I just did it. Look at the picture above. I hate that picture. It is 3rd grade Christine in a grown up body. The little girl who was terrified of water and wore a nose plug through grade school … check out her default. It does not matter that I no longer need to hold my nose. I didn’t even think about it. I held my nose (and my husband captured it on film – lovely).

It is my default.

But I jumped in, anyway. That old default did not keep me from doing something I wanted to do. I grabbed that rope swing. I ran forward. I let go and did not miss out on the fun. Part of my default slipped in there, but it didn’t hold me back.

Jump in today. Make the choice to do what you need to do for the sake of your child. Hold your nose, if you must. You may find yourself exactly where I did – reconnected with my child.

Well, that and a wedgie up to your eyeballs.