These last couple of weeks have been tough for me as a parent. As anyone who lives in the metro Washington, DC region knows, we are crazy when it comes to snow - it takes only a dusting to shut down all the schools and sometimes the whole city. As a former northerner, I used to go crazy every time they closed schools before the first flake fell, but in the past couple of years I have come around to just rolling with it; it's part of living in DC. But that doesn't change the struggle for parents - this time of year, between the federal holidays, in-service days and snow days, we have a lot of weeks where the kids are home from school multiple weekdays.
The other day, during one of these snow days, I came downstairs to get breakfast settled and was greeted by the kids going on about the latest video or video game they wanted to watch and play. And my mother-in-law, who lives with us (that's another blog post entirely!), felt the need to comment on how much video time they had been getting lately. And that stopped me in my tracks realizing that off course she's right (although I didn't feel the need to share THAT with her ;-)). How did I, a normally super controlling parent, strict with the screen time and the sugar, become so complacent around this? It's easy to do - life gets complicated, and when something throws off our schedule, like a snow day, we often go with the easiest solution. In my case it was turning to the internet babysitter so that I could get stuff done while they were home.
I looked around at my life and realized that often we just tend to lose sight of these things. Not just with being complacent, but also with it's opposite - being controlling. It's an easy pattern to fall into. Easy to let the kids watch the videos, or on the other hand, easy to stop them from watching any videos at all or having any fun during a snow day. We need to find balance somewhere in between. This is true in nearly every aspect of parenting, starting all the way back when that pregnancy test came up positive. Ask yourself - where are you being complacent or controlling in your pregnancy, birth plan, or parenting? Are you the parent (like me!!) who wrote a 3 page birth plan that the nurses are likely to roll their eyes at, or are you being totally complacent in choosing a care provider who is just convenient, rather than someone who shares your goals for your birth experience? The time to start finding that balance starts now.
I find that I can usually start to figure it out when I am on my yoga mat. I'll check in to my body in a pose and realize that I'm not engaging my muscles, and just letting my knee fall out to the side OR maybe I'll be in a pose and I'll find that I'm gripping and clenching my butt muscles in a totally unhelpful way. What is happening in your body is often a good indicator of what is happening in your life. You know, as it is on the mat, as it is off the mat, I like to say....