Disaster Averted…Barely

Today was one of those days. There was a bad mood I couldn’t shake. The kids were cranky, vacillating between overtired and hangry, with seemingly little in between. We grumpily tramped into the woods, my hope being we’d all feel better after digging around in the dirt, climbing around on rocks and fallen trees, and breathing in the pre-rain air.

No dice.

I snapped at M. and grumped at E. They both still fought, though this time over a stick, not a book or doll or some other silly item that one didn’t care about until the other put hands on it. Instead of sitting back and watching their imaginations unfold as they wandered the wooded backyard, I had to wrangle them both and prevent the inevitable eye poke with the disputed stick.

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We headed back inside earlier than I had anticipated for snack time, and I was disappointed by our time outdoors. I had so long touted (even before this blog or my plans for Mama’s Forest School) the benefits of getting us outdoors to help shrug off the blahs, that I was a bit rattled by it’s total failure to help even one of us get into a better head space.

I moved forcefully around the kitchen, hurrying the yogurt and fruit out of the fridge, banging cups about on the counter. I felt my body move too fast and hard, and I caught myself. I returned the yogurt container to the fridge at a slower pace, focusing on my movements. I consciously poured the hot water from the kettle over the tea bags in our mugs, slowly stirring in the honey. I breathed a bit more deeply and tried to let my body relax. As I sat down at the snack table with M. and E., I felt a bit more calm, and they did, too.

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While the day was still more difficult than I would have liked, I am holding on to that moment as I prepared snack. As someone who is quick to anger, the fact that I was able to see how my body was reacting to my emotions and then make the point to move more consciously is truly amazing. It’s not a skill to which I’ve previously had access.

This was  good lesson for me, in more ways than one. I think I’ve been idealizing the coming summer and our plans, thinking that because we will be spending so much time outside that things will just be astoundingly perfect. Today reminded me that we will still have days plagued by the grumps, but it also showed me that I have the ability to increase my personal awareness and bring myself back down from a potential burst of fury.

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