Let It Go. (No, seriously. All of it.)
“Let It Go” from Frozen had become my mantra this summer. On my runs, or after bedtime while doing chores, I would sing along with the gloriously-voiced Idina Menzel in my not-glorious voice. “The past is in the past.” Move on. Let go.
And then school started. And preschool. And we dropped naptime. And the kids’ oppositional behavior ratcheted up. And I kind of forgot about it.
Well, I didn’t really forget. Instead, whenever I remembered it, it would just make me mad. I would run through my complaints with the Powers That Be:
My kids are so crabby in the late afternoon, and we’re in process of figuring out this new routine, so instead of routine-that-works, we have routine-in-process, which involves lots of screaming and crying and fighting and everyone exhausted.
Let it go.
My house is a disaster and I can’t find anything because my non-kid time has shrunk dramatically.
Let it go.
My body and my psyche feel off because I haven’t been exercising or eating right or sleeping enough and I know I can’t do All the Things, but can’t I at least have one thing?
Nope. Let it go.
My days and weeks feel like a stream of plans interrupted by unexpected crises. Like having to drive my signed contract to HR because I had blanked on the deadline.
Let it go.
I screwed up my interaction with this kid today, and that reminds me of all the times I have screwed up recently, and the Litany of Shortcomings gets stuck on repeat.
We’ve been through this. Let it go.
One kid makes a whiny whimper that sounds like nails on a chalkboard; one kid’s default angry reaction is to scream in the nearest person’s face; and one kid ignores simple requests and refuses to comply with nearly every transition.
Let it all go.
Dammit, I HAVE been letting it go. I’ve been letting go how long it takes me to grade papers and get them back. I’ve been letting go cooking time, and organizing, and running, and sleep, and friend time. I have tried to let go of the Lost Things. I have let go of ever getting anywhere on time. I have let go of errands and of getting breaks during the day and…and… When do I get to hang on to something?
No, seriously. All of it.
was am sick of letting everything go all the time. I want things to go MY way. I get stuck in Unreasonable Expectations-Land (that’s an area of Disney that parents could identify with). Things like:
- assuming that my kids will respond to my directives. My recent method of handling defiant children sounds something like YOU WILL LISTEN TO ME. It doesn’t work.
- anticipating that my own clothing is clean and easy to find.
- having time to figure out a probable food allergy (to peppers and also I think tomatoes but am too wary of trying them again).
- finding parenting strategies that address both preschool-age behavior and multiples. Apparently the market for parents of three three-year-olds is pretty small.
So it looks like my standards will need to relax. Again. I guess they can’t go completely rock-bottom because it would be against the law to go to work naked due to lack of findable clothing at 5:45 am.
And I am brought back to the hard truth that the only thing I control is my reactions to things. That’s it. That’s all I get.
This phase feels Hard. Not Hard x3, but Hard cubed. Like we’re in a pressure cooker of Needs and Feelings and how it’s just really hard to be a person, no matter what age. And I’m emotionally exhausted and the Middle Way seems really hard to find. So I’m working on letting it go. Showing the same compassion to myself that I try to show my kids, my students, my friends, and my family.