Some days I feel grounded in myself, my family, my friendships. I soar, wings wide, feeling secure and confident in who I am, in knowing I have the emotional intelligence and control to handle feelings and situations as befit a nearly 40 year old adult.
Other days, I falter. I feel like my wings don’t work. I feel blown by the winds of emotion and uncertainty; like a teenager, unsure of myself and lacking the life experience and perspective needed to ground my behaviour and feelings in an intelligence of any sort.
Why is it that I so often find myself taken back to those teenage feelings of angst and uncertainty? Sure, now, I recognise them for what they are; I know I can mostly control them and rationalise them and they feel far less raw or all-consuming. But still, they are there. Do we ever escape them?
Parenting is harder on days I falter. Not to mention on days when the children demand more of me than I can give them; when tasks need doing that aren’t about them and that need my thoughts focused elsewhere and their presence where they don’t want to be. I question my own judgement. My self-control falters. My mental energy is not sufficiently focused.
Those days need all my effort to manage. And when I have some space, I employ the tactics I have learnt work for me to bring my feelings to the fore, analyse them and pick my way through them to the things I need to do to move past them. I work hard to stop myself wanting to run away from the feelings and the implications – the often uncomfortable-feeling actions needed to sort things out with others, big or small as those things might be.
I have often wished I wasn’t so analytical – approaching life with more levity and less reflection.
But the reality is that I am who I am. There is little value in wishing I were otherwise. Nor will mentally running away from hard things, small or large, solve anything. Strength of character and self-esteem come from facing and dealing with situations, even if they don’t feel comfortable.
Just recognising the feelings, and what I need to do about them, allows my wings to spread once more, to feel the lift of the currents.
And as always, tomorrow is a new day, a new opportunity. Parenting, more than anything else in my life, has taught me that. We are not perfect, we will always be flawed, but each day we can strive to be the best we can be and pick ourselves up again when we don’t quite make it.