We had what my friend Dr. Leesha would call a "vigorous discussion," over Wawa for dinner. (He wanted Wawa; we were having a buffalo chicken salad!). The rest of the night was insanity and I was basically engaging in a vigorously insane argument with a very tired 8 year old.
And the truth is, I wanted TO WIN! I wanted to make him be compliant, apologize and tell everyone at school how good his salad was.
This is not an isolated situation. I cannot even fathom how many times I've attempted to end a tantrum or a meltdown or simple bad behavior by digging in and insisting we address everything immediately. But the thing is, you cannot argue with crazy. You cannot solve a problem rationally when everyone is highly emotional and throwing stuffed animals or screaming odd things like "You read too many books mommy!"
But, my Mommy Ego--that urge to be noted as the adult, the one in charge--is always loudly shouting in my ear: "SHOW THEM YOU ARE THE ADULT."
And anytime there is shouting, it is absolutely not an adult situation.
Instead, of arguing with my irrational children, I actually just need to let it GO! I need to distract them, play with them, move on from the emotion and then later, maybe, whenever everyone is even and sane, chat about what happened. Or maybe not ever really talk about it because it is okay. They know I am the adult (it is why they ask me for money).
Letting my Mommy Ego go is going to be hard. I have been orchestrating the lives of my children for 15 years--but with each passing day, I have less control over each of them. They are growing up, they are flexing their independence and they are preparing for adulthood. While this all often includes emotional meltdowns and sharp tongues and drama, all of that is more than forgivable. I think I've forgiven them in advance for the 15 fights they will have with each other in the next 24 hours. I cannot punish them for their emotions (even when their emotions result in bad behavior). I need to use the time honored tactics of redirection and repositioning. I might feel like I lost something--my ego might be a little bruised--but that is okay.
As Dr. Leesha reminded me (I often use her for free therapy under false professional pretenses.), you can lose a battle; but you will win the war!
And really, parenting is war, isn't it?
(I am off on the bedtime offensive! Wish me luck!).