Children add an element of chaos to our lives. In order to understand this, first it is important to be clear on what chaos is. According to a Google search:
Every dictionary in my house (The American Heritage Dictionary, Pocket Oxford Dictionary and The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary) also mention something about what existed pre-creation, which could also be an implied innuendo, if you ask me; however, it is the second definition of the Google search which puts the kink in the semi-order we think our lives are in. Even when we think we understand all the little quirks of our children they show us a variation we weren’t expecting and the best laid plans fall into ruin…or so it seems.
The truth is that children are growing and learning. They do not come into this world fulling formed, thank goodness (so says my womb). How can we really expect them to behave in completely consistent, predictable ways? Even as adults we are still growing and learning. Our ways may be more consistent and predictable, but even we change our minds without necessarily communicating that clearly.
Tantrums, like storms, happen no matter what we have planned. We have the choice to either adapt to minimize their negative impact or throw up our hands and give up until it passes. And that choice may come up every time. Sometimes there is nothing to do, but wait it out. You are no less a good mother for allowing a tantrum to play out.
I have left shopping carts full of groceries, canceled play dates, and left a thrashing toddler on the floor just as many times as I have been able to find a way to calm them without changing my plans. I keep my sanity through my willingness to give up my rigidity. The greatest source of headache inducing stress, I have found, is when I refuse to acknowledge that my plans were more selfish than inclusive of my children.
Factoring in my children to my daily life means expecting things to go the way of chaos no matter how carefully I try to account for everything. I am human. Even as intuitive as I can be as a mother I miss things, behavioral cues or triggers. I cannot account for everything, that is why my priority must be my children.
Most of the time the chaos is within me, not around me. Chaos is a perception resulting form the fact that my expectations do not dictate how the world around me works. My children are not robots to be programmed to do exactly as I think. Things will not always go my way. To be honest, rarely do they ever go the way I planned. The Mommy Way allows for chaos.
How do you allow for chaos?
*Photo: storm clouds by Gorupka, obtained through Flickr.