Here’s the thing – full confession time.
I’m here in LA, spending some wonderful time with amazing friends and inspiring teachers, the sun is shining…oh and did I mention, I’m in LA.
From this place I LOVE my kids.
They are the most important things in my life and I can’t wait to be back with them at home later this week – this is the longest time I’ve been away from them.
Obviously they are cute, lovely, ever so clever and quite frankly the best looking kids I’ve ever met. They are loving, they are kind and they are so special.
And yet in the past experience has shown me within 24 hours of walking through the door upon my return, my kids are rude, bickering, ungrateful, entitled, sometimes boring to spend time with, and really know how to push my buttons.
That was what I was expecting by about Friday this week.
So given that that’s the way my kids actually ARE while I’m with them (rather than just thinking fondly about them while I’m thousands of miles away), while I’m away I thought I’d spend some time reflecting on how to have a better day to day experience of spending time with them.
So first I asked myself the question: Given that the above it true, that they ARE actualluy moody, spoilt etc etc, how can I best deal with that? Perhaps I need to try to speak more nicely around them, perhaps I need some new parenting strategies or perhaps I need to move them into a less posh school so they don’t behave in such an entitled manner.
Ah but hang on….
Then I saw: it’s not my kids that are actually being awful, it’s my THINKING when I’m around them that’s creating the experience I’m having when I’m spending time with them.
So when I”m in a crappy state of mind, they can fight and bicker and to me it looks like my kids are ALWAYS badly behaved. And when I’m in a good mood, they can fight all they like and it just goes straight over my head.
So perhaps the solution is some state management – to try and get myself in a calmer state of mind so I can be in a happier mood around them. So I could try some deep breathing, perhaps a yoga class, or just build in time between finishing work and picking them up after school to make sure I’m calm and present when I arrive at the school gates.
Believe me, I’ve tried that one – it works when it works until it doesn’t.
Ahhh but then hang on again.
It’s not my thinking about my kids that’s where the solution lies, it’s understanding THAT we think at all. Seeing that how much my experience of them changes from moment to moment as my thoughts change.
Given that I’m making it ALL up, there’s no need to take any of that thinking seriously.
Wow. What if I just didn’t care what experience I was having?
I KNOW underneath all the noise that I love my kids. The rest is really just noise.
Do I like it? No. Do I have to really care or do anything about it? No.
My understanding of the Three Principles means that this is true for me more and more of the time.
But today I saw it different.
All these strategies, all this understanding, all this doing and not doing and deciding whether I love my kids or not, or whether I like them in this moment or not would all be very relevant if there was such a thing as ‘kids’.
But there isn’t.
The whole ‘kids’ thing is MADE of thought itself. The whole thing.
When I saw that, my ‘kids’ vanished completely – they just disappeared in my head.
And all I’m left with is a little human called Tilly, one called Ned and one called Bea.