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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pre-MenoWHAT?!?

Earlier today I spoke with a friend of mine who was having one of "those" days.  You know, the one that starts not so great and then only gets worse?  That one.  Our conversation took place around 9am and at that point it was obvious that it was going to be one of those days for her.  Especially since she hadn't had her Java yet.  Ah, the a.m. Java and the p.m. glass of wine.  What would we do without them?  I was happy to be her "venting buddy", but when she went into a bit more detail about the mood swings that had been plaguing her lately, I felt as if I was listening to myself.  Her assumption?  It must be a pre-menopausal thing.  WHAT was that?!?!  WHAT did you say?  Did you just say "pre-menopausal"?  Oh no girlfriend, I am soooo not ready for that yet!!  For one person it may be a pre-menopausal thing, but I think in my case I prefer to call it "being-mother-to-two-lovely-cute-little-boys-who-regularly-test-boundaries-and-enjoy-pushing-buttons" (my buttons, that is).

In the beginning of January I committed myself to a little experiment: for 3 weeks, upon waking in the morning, I would choose how I wanted to be throughout the day.  I had a little bright pink Post-It note taped to my bathroom mirror, so it would remind me.  Every morning, I took a deep breath and decided what I was going to be about and how I wanted to be with the children.  These 3 weeks turned into 3 amazing weeks.  I admit that I wasn't always successful in maintaining the attitude that I had committed to in the morning, but the few times that this happened, it didn't take me much time to realize what was going on and to get back to where I wanted to be.
It was difficult though, especially with a stubborn, trying, testing the boundaries toddler on my hands.  He seems to have a knack for finding my buttons and pushing them.  Heck, sometimes the kid manages to turn me into one huge button in and by itself.  I hate it when that happens.

Luckily David and I manage to rotate those days; the days that I am the big red button that walks around signaling "Push Me!  Push Me!" are the days that he seems like a Buddhist monk: calm, together, nothing can possibly ruffle his feathers.  And then there are days that those roles are reversed (although I hardly ever consider myself as calm as a Buddhist monk).  Yep, it's a perfect marriage.  We compliment each other pretty well.

Over the past weeks I have had my share of being the Big Red Button around the house, today I was the calm, together, Buddhist monk (wannabe) and it came with my "aha" moment: as parents of toddlers we are pummeled with "give them a clear choice", "be consistent", "draw a clear line", "communicate well", "pick your battles", and so on.  I realized that in many occasions (when I have a Big Red Button day), I "react" and the reaction is what fuels the fire.  Choices are great, but not as a reaction to an action.  The choice needs to come first, before the action.  If that is the case, there is no need for a reaction.  Confused?

Here's an example:
It's bath time and Kai doesn't want to go in the bath.  It's time to get in, he runs away and turns it into a "catch me if you can game".  We react and tell him that he could either come, get in the bath, and have his daily pillow fight prior to going to bed, or we will come get him, in which case he'll go kicking and screaming and the pillow fight will not happen.  This is where it goes from bad to worse. 

Or

Bath time arrives and we give him 2 choices: a bath followed by his pillow fight, or straight to bed.  Which one would he prefer?  Whichever one he chooses, we'll just have to make sure that we're okay with it.  If per chance he changes his mind somewhere half way through the process that follows, it'll be a lot easier for us to calmly explain that this was his choice and if he wishes to do it differently the following day, he can.  We're not reacting with an action, we're reacting with an explanation.

It is fascinating to me that those days that I felt like that Big Red Button, were the days that I didn't take the time in the morning to decide how I was going to be throughout that day.  I let my toddler who came running in and started using my bed as a trampoline, yelling "Mama, wake up!  Make Breakfast!  Mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!", waking the baby in the room next door have an effect on my mood that day.  (It may be hard to believe, but a scenario like that, does make it somewhat more challenging to wake up in a calm, relaxed, and zen-like mood.) 

At this point, I can happily say that I have put the thought of pre-menopausal challenges to rest.  Those challenges will have to wait until a later point in my life.  For now, I am simply a mother to two little boys (who I love and adore to pieces) and who are discovering the world around them.


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2 comments:

Pamela said...

Wow!!! Nice post. Thanks for sharing.

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TV's Take said...

Hi HRHR! Is your husband in a new commerical? I swear I saw him on a commercial the other night...

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