Yesterday I was tired and hungry and called to my daughter to see if she was ready to go to lunch. She came storming down the stairs saying, “I can’t go until I wash my hair.” Now she had all morning to wash her hair but as soon as I was ready to go she wasn’t. She screamed, she cried, she said, “I can’t go out with my hair like this.” Now, I’m hungry and I know she wants me to trim her hair. I REALLY want to get some food in my belly before I touch the scissors but NOOOO she wants me to do it NOW!
BIG FEELINGS are racing around our house threatening to explode and take us both down. She is expressing hers, I’m sitting on the couch watching mine explode inside. I know if I don’t work with them, I’ll act out the dreaded control move and before I know it I’ll hear myself saying ” you better listen to me, young lady and get ready to go, right now.” ……… Oh, thank goodness I know this one well and decide to hold my ground, breathing, and opening to her expression. “I can do this”, I’m telling myself, “I can stay right here and attend to my BIG feelings. She’s ok, I’m ok, we’ll make it through this.”
She storms up the stairs….screaming she hates me as she goes….I sit on the couch, breathing, checking in to see what is really going on inside. I am hungry and I decide I’m not up for a battle so decide I will make food at home. I yell up that I am making lunch and whamo….She comes running down the stairs saying, “I want to go, I want to go to lunch.” Oh my, here we are on the other side….Again, I breathe, relax into making food and tell her I am staying home and cooking.
She runs back up the stairs, crying and yelling at me….I slow everything down, inside, and begin cooking and oh how good the food smells. I keep returning to the sensations and smells in the moment. Breathing, relaxing. Next thing I know she is coming back downstairs and I tell her I am cooking her some Mac & Cheese… She says, “Thanks mom, I think I’m going to cook you some eggs.” We both looked at each other and start laughing…”Boy” she says, “We sure are cranky when we are both hungry.”
Another adventure in riding the wave of BIG feelings. I’ve learned, from years of practice, that if I will ride the wave, inside me instead of trying to control her behavior, that we move through within a few minutes. It’s a process and I’ve learned to trust it, staying in the moment, knowing its only feelings and when there is space for all of them, gratitude always shows up on the other side.
Practice: If your child exhibits BIG feelings over something trivial see if you can shine the light on what is going on inside you instead of controlling the behavior. Stay with yourself, watching the feelings rise, loving them and giving them space…Stay connected with you and see what happens.