Hurricane Abram is gaining speed. I sighed then I yelled for him to get his bike put away and himself in the van for the umpteenth time. We were headed out and we were going to be late. Abram is very attached to his bike and likes to go at his own pace favoring structure over surprise. However, I needed him to get his fanny moving, pronto. All I could hear was his indignant voice snarling his displeasure at being rushed. This was gonna be fun.
Then as I turned around to once again to prod (not cattle prod), Abram into action I noticed that even though he was still bellowing at the top of his lungs, he was taking his bike to the garage. I stopped myself from blasting another command at him and watched in amazement as Abram, still shouting got into the van. In that moment I realized he just needed to vent his frustration. Abram wasn’t yelling at me and he certainly wasn’t trying to start a fight—he was simply telling me, in his own way, “OK mom, I’ll put my bike up so we can go.” My engaging with Abram was doing more harm than good. I was strengthening the storm instead of letting it pass over.
It made a big impact on me that I could simply walk away from Abram not let myself be a mirror with my emotions. Instead of letting my anger out and snowball out of control I could choose go to my happy place or talk with someone else. It’s better to keep Abram away from my irritation and train to take a different path. Then he doesn’t feel my reactions and have a meltdown himself.
People are often the same way. Unpleasant news is never easy to hear. Schedules get crushed. NCAA brackets are busted. Starbucks orders are made wrong. So we grumble and complain. What I learned is that some people need to vent though the process of being inconvenienced. That I don’t need to engage with them by agreeing that the barista should have definitely remembered they wanted almond milk or even worse arguing with them adding more emotion to the conversation.
So to all the moms out there, don’t be so hard on yourselves, the mom from E.T. had an alien living in her house for 30 days and she never noticed!