I grit my teeth and steel myself for yet another endless day.  One car is in the shop and the other is stuttering, asthma is acting up, printer is broken, furnace is moody, and when you sit on that middle cushion of the couch you go through to the springs and knee yourself in the chin.  Then there’s outside.  Cloudy skies.  Dirty nuisance snow.  Biting cold.  Endless grey.  I got in bed and pulled the covers over my head.  I got up.  Nothing had changed.


Stuff is piling up — Funnermother.com

I read a parenting blog that mentions the end-of-the-day feeling of “just trying not to yell.”  I chuckle, not the way I was meant to.  When I yell, it comes from somewhere and jumps into the room without my permission.  “Just trying not to yell” is actually a pretty good day.  A bad day is endless grey.

I’ve always been told my face betrays me, we MacDonald women [mom’s maiden name] don’t suffer in silence,  and that I can access scary ferocity when crossed.  Mad or blue, my kids see it and hear it.  I am an imperfect parent.  In addition, we are in a big transition that’s not going smoothly, as we try to relocate several states away.  So on top of my transparency, we are asking our kids to accept a shaky and unknown future, and the for sale sign out front is a constant reminder.  It’s a lot to ask of all of us over time.

Picking a car up from one mechanic and dropping the other off to another mechanic, I felt up to my neck in muck and told Running Mate, “Ug, I’m losing my optimism.”  He put his right hand palm up, shrugged, and said evenly “You can’t.”  And that was the perfect answer.  Giving up is the least desired, least viable, least helpful…. and it is structurally impossible.  He reminded me of my mantra “It’s not IF things will work out, it’s HOW things will work out.” Dammit.  My own words!  But it’s a new day, and I feel the clouds behind me.  Close, but behind me.  My kids see and hear the change.


Up to my neck in it!

I assume if you’re reading, you’re parents.  And in contrast to a lot that I’m reading for parents these days, you have my permission to show emotions other than happiness.  You have my permission to be upset, sad, worried….. and show it.  However, this permission comes with the condition that you move through these feelings and model for your children how to do that, too.  It doesn’t have to be with poise, though a little dignity would be nice.  🙂  As a kid, my family’s emotions were like a box of pingpong balls, dropped from a high spot.  But the opposite of that is NOT constant pleasantness.  It’s management, feeling your feelings, and not being sidelined by or fearful of them.  There may come a day when I never yell.  In the mean time, it’s important to show forgiveness after anger, bouncing back from sadness, and resolution of worry.  I’d love to hear your story of bouncing back in the comments.  Did your kids follow your recovery?  Do you have a tip for putting your feelings into perspective?  Let me know!


11 thoughts on “Endless

  1. I used to tell my kids, “You don’t become strong from the good days and the fun days, you become strong when you plant your feet firmly in the struggle, when the wind of life is blowing hard and you hang on tight. That’s when you find your strength.” If you make the mistake of only letting your kids see the good days and the fun days- or you fake it that they are ALL good days and fun days- You create an unrealistic world that they can’t possibly live in. It doesn’t exist. And since my job as a parent is to prepare them for the reality of life and to make them strong, loving, caring citizens of this world who give back and contribute to the world in some beautiful way… then, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t cry, show my weakness, struggle, rage-occasionally- and experience a full rainbow-range of emotions and then get back up again.

    Because that is that little thing we call life. And the quicker they know they are allowed to experience the full buffet of it, the happier they will be.


  2. Thank you for your beautiful post. I agree- it’s so important for children to understand that it’s “okay” to feel emotions, and that no emotions are “bad”. It’s HOW we express and move through these emotions that is important.
    My kids and I release through art (we all started sketch books this year, and sometimes paint to music), journalling (we’re working on being more regular with this), and exercise… sometimes a wild dance in the living room is called for. 🙂


    • Rachel, what great projects to do together! Sketchbooks and journals — how old are your kids? I love the idea of painting TO music… I like to introduce my kids to different sounds in the background (I’m currently obsessed with cellist Zoe Keating!), sometimes water or forest sounds…. Hmmm, you’ve got me thinking… Thank you so much for reading and commenting! xx Angela


  3. Parenting is preparing someone for a full life as an adult. To omit any part of what they are likely to need to be able to handle is an unkindness. Every emotion, in an age-appropriate way, is essential.


    • Thank you. I just read another post about all the ways that yelling means you’re not taking care of yourself. And while that may be true, I think it’s just not the taboo people are making it out to be. Thank you for reading, Patrice! xx Angela


  4. Chalk up the muck to mercury retrograde slamming into this polar vortex Angela. I usually don’t like the words “you can’t” yet here they certainly are perfect. When I’m feeling blah, sometimes I give in, for a little while. Then I look at my boy – my Buddha boy kitty – and he makes me laugh. I’m sure thing 1 & thing 2 do that for you. Hugs.


  5. Elaine, your blog this week actually has a GREAT tip for putting your own feelings into perspective — hot soup with a “Laughing Buddy” as I think of them. Those friends that share your sense of humor. Thanks for reading! xx Angela


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