My daughter has recently sat her last AS level exam and is in that lovely state of euphoria when, despite a few more weeks of school, she has the summer stretching ahead of her with the promise of a heat wave!
The last few weeks have been fascinating for me, watching her wrestle with a whole jumble of feelings as she revised for her exams, and knowing that I had nothing to do except love her. Don’t get me wrong there were times (usually when I was tired or busy) that I wanted to give well meaning advice or platitudes, and a few times it seemed to be such a good idea that I did exactly that.
Saying things such as; “You’ll be fine honey” or “Exams aren’t that important”. I even suggested that “you know that if you stop having worrying thoughts, you’ll feel a lot better”!
I’m sure that you can picture the cold, stony stare as my ‘helpful’ suggestions were met with either scorn or tears.
After a particularly tricky evening where two hours work on the computer had been lost at the press of a button, I tried to make things better. I gave advice, sympathised and commiserated. Generally interfering in a storm that I had forgotten would choose it’s own path to a calm place without any help from me.
When my well intentioned support met with more tears and upset I took myself off and asked myself what I thought might be going on.
My thoughts were rattling and revving up. “Surely my job as a Mum is to be supportive and helpful? Offering advice where needed and even sometimes being firm with my suggestions to take it easy or stop worrying. No-one said that parenting was easy and of course teenagers have strops and can be unappreciative and even rude sometimes!”
As my thoughts escalated into seemingly justified disappointment and righteous indignation I could feel myself getting more tense and het up. I took a deep breath and in that moment I remembered exactly what was going on!
I was sitting here making up stories about my daughter, about teenagers in general and even about my role as a parent, and all of this was of course accompanied by revved up feelings.
With that remembering came a sense of peace and even humour as I settled into a far nicer feeling of love and compassion. Something led me to the kitchen to make my daughter’s favourite drink and as I waited for the kettle to boil I felt a huge wave of compassion.
Of course she was feeling stressed and annoyed, who wouldn’t when so much seemed to be riding on them doing well in their exams? Her expressions of upset were perfectly natural, her own innate wisdom knew exactly what to do and would settle her into a calm place, particularly if there was no interference from a well intentioned Mum!
I took the drink up to her and apologised for my interference. She was already feeling better and now in a place where she felt safe to talk because I could listen and respond from a place of love and not interfere.
No doubt there will be more times of upset between us (you should see us clothes shopping together!) but I am so grateful that I manage to remember what’s going on before things escalate into situations that we might both regret.
If this resonates with you, and you would like to talk about easier parenting then feel free to contact me, I promise not to interfere!
If this blog makes you curious to find out more about this stuff, please do contact me.
If you are left feeling totally confused and discombobulated then please don’t worry – you’ll know what to do when you need to know!