Storm Clouds
Filed Under (coping strategies, Uncategorized)

I stare out at the third snow storm in a week and am humbled by the fact that there is no control over Mother Nature.  Tempted to throw negativity at the incovenience  created by New England winter weather, I remind myself that I actually choose to live here.  Putting up with storms is part of the contract in the Northeast.  As it is in parenting too.  Choosing to be a parent means accepting and tolerating the inevitable storms.

When my children were babies they would cry the most heartfelt little tears. But never without warning. The water works and screams were always preceeded by an adorable display of facial contortions.   We called them ‘storm clouds’.   I loved this analogy because it reminded me that, like a real storm, this too would pass.

I need to remind myself of that now that my babies are tweens and teens. Quelling the fury is more complicated at times but never impossible. The storm clouds – the moods, the wild ideas, the crises – eventually pass.  Letting oneself get embroiled in it or trying to avoid it is futile.  Perhaps I can apply some borrowed wisdom I’ve learned from hearty New Englanders about weathering the storms: buckle down, insulate, and conserve energy.

  • Buckle Down: As the saying goes, prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and expect anything in between. Muster up some patience and ride out the storm.  It can’t last forever.
  • Insulate: pull out every trick you have to insulate yourself against your child’s fury.  Count to 10, breathe, smile, reframe, or if all else fails, walk away.  Chances are, once a child dumps his mood in your lap, he will skip away refreshed.  The trick for you is to avoid absorbing your child’s trash.
  • Conserve Energy:  You would not use all your resources in dealing with one storm lest you be wiped out for the next one.  Nor should you allow a child to sap the total of your emotional and physical energy during one of her crises.  Pace yourself for the long haul.

There is a sense of pride a New Englander has in his ability to tough-out a wicked winter.  Likewise, a parent may feel pride in his ability to survive parenting.  Neither is for the faint of heart.  Look toward the Spring for respite; despite our fears that it won’t, it does always return.  “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was going to end, it became a butterfly.”

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