For some time now, I've felt our family shift along it's fault lines as it tried to find it's right balance.
We've had a tumultous past six months, in more ways than one. We've all suffered from that unbalance. My heart aches as I think of the difficulties DD must feel, as a toddler who is trying to find her balance anyways, with less-than-stable ground to walk on.
Oh, nothing crazy, nothing awful- but not the safe solid feeling I want to provide her, and have for the majority of her life.
In the past month, I've felt balance return to our family. Or, should I say, I've felt us return to balance. And it feels so, so good.
But while I was out of balance- while I was attempting not to stumble or fall as things whirled around me- I have slipped a bit in my parenting. It takes guts for me to say this, but once I saw it, I could never again ignore my shortcomings.
The other day the little and I were yet again driving- in the car- something I've realized we've been doing far, far too much for her. Yes, we had a great destination in mind- but does the end justify the means? Does a great breakfast justify a forty minute slot of time that could be spent playing used up by frusteration, being strapped into a carseat? Given our amazing apartment- surrounded by land, playthings, a pool, animals, shade, etc- I think not.
Anyways, I was driving, and Nat was complaining and whining- and my child does nothing worth doing quietly. Frankly, she was pissed. And as I was about to tell her she "needed" to be quiet, we would be there soon, I realized what an awful kind of way to respond to her this was- so out of touch with my parenting ideals. I realized, in a flash, how far from my path I'd wandered. I realized I'd begun to see her more as a problem to be dealt with than my beloved girl showing me what her needs were and asking me in her own way to help her meet them.
It felt awful. It still does. I get a dark and sinking pit in my stomach just thinking about it.
But it's honest. And sometimes, honesty is what we need to clear our viewpoints, get real, and move on in the direction we truly, truly want to go.