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 editor@kripalu.org. Photo courtesy of Elaina Mortali.

Micah Mortali, Director of Outdoor Education and Programming and longtime Kripalu Yoga teacher, is the Dean and Founder of the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership and author of Rewilding.

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