Small Victories in Parenting

Recently, I had a great learning experience as a parent. I had had a long day at work and I probably had too much coffee and drank too little water. That plus hours on e-mail and multiple meetings back to back left me feeling frazzled, ungrounded, and dizzy. In the parlance of Ayurveda, I was experiencing vata imbalance—i.e., too much movement.

My wife had to leave when I got home to run some errands, so I had to get the kids through the dinner, bath, and bedtime routine. They had hot chocolate around 3:00 pm so they were bouncing off the walls. Their excessive energy and frenetic movement further aggravated my already vata-deranged state and I got dizzier, more edgy, and less patient.

Along with running into me full speed, hitting me with stuffed animals, and pulling on my clothes, my 4-year old, Cora, was screaming more than usual. I was stern with them a few times, but it didn’t seem to faze them. They ignored me and ran around the house like wild things. I tried raising my voice a few times, to no avail.

Finally, we made it upstairs and they would not get their PJs on. I kept asking them over and over again to get dressed, but they just ignored me and kept on with their raucous celebrations. I was starting to get really frustrated that they were not listening to me and doing what I was asking them to do. As a parent, I felt powerless.

I felt a powerful wave of raw energy rise that could have become Daddy raising his voice ... but instead I sat down on the floor, closed my eyes, and focused on breathing and relaxing. I gave up trying to control them and surrendered to the moment. I became the witness.

I felt the truth that I cannot control other people but, if I work at it, I can control myself. 

After a few moments, I felt myself soften and let go of the struggle. My son walked right up to me and said to his sister, and I quote: “Look at how patient Daddy is being right now. Daddy, you get the best listener award!”

And then he gave me a kiss.

Small victories.

© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please e-mail Photo courtesy of Elaina Mortali.

Micah Mortali is lead Kripalu faculty, the Founder of the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership and author of Rewilding.

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