Let’s get something abundantly clear from the start. From the time we start to think about having a kid to the moment it finally happens, the (ahem) magic of parenthood begins. We quickly find out were lied to.
Social media makes parent-hood look like hugs at sunset on a summer’s eve, warm meals around the table at 5pm every night and goodnight kisses after a good bedtime story. The realness of parenting and the challenges it brings is almost looked down upon in some groups, like you’re less of a perfect parent than your Instagram feed tells everyone you are.
This isn’t that.
In fact, we are going to talk about my little one, who is 2 years old, and me dropping society's expectations of parenting and going face to face in the middle of a Target. The candle aisle, how we got there I couldn’t tell you. Why we stayed there for 45 minutes is a different story.
For those who have yet to hit the toddler phase of parenting and heck for those of you who have, this one is for you.
Recently my daughter had a birthday, from one to two. The few days that followed that birthday my daughter went full stride into toddler mode. She quickly learned to express her voice when she becomes upset. More affectionately I believe that the expression sounds like a pterodactyl in labor with a gunshot wound. My tiny bundle of joy decided to let her inner pterodactyl out to fly in the middle of Target. Screaming, crying, throwing herself around, pushing me away, all of it. In that moment I had a choice, overpower her as the parent in charge or do something differently.
I gently got down on her level, held her hips and to my surprise she didn’t push me away. Good start, then I just let her get the rest of the frustration out of her system. Once she had finally made teary eye contact with me, I asked a simple question: “What do you need baby girl?”
Needless to say, with the mic in her hand she promptly informed me of all her needs! She wanted Mom, puppies, to play with her toys, to go home, eat food, get something to drink.
What I hear was that she needed attention and stimulation. Active listening, not to respond but to understand her needs and how I could best serve her.
On our way out as she and I had calmed down, talked things out and come to a decision to sit and talk, 3 different people with kids had come over and asked how the hell did I manage that.
We all come into this world naturally triggered by things. It's our default program, but we are a supercomputer that has the ability to learn, integrate and elevate.
Surviving those screams to my face and potential embarrassing moment from other people walking by judging me for being a bad parent gets put on hold because I know at this moment the important thing is just her and I. That switch for frustration and upset emotions isn't my first go to anymore.
Listening because I know she's not upset for no reason and instead of correcting her behavior, connecting to her needs.
Now did it take a toll on me, hell yes, lifting those parenting weights for sure. But did her and I both learn from the experience instead of storing that emotion.
Dr. Chris Lee is a speaker, consultant, coach and local chiropractor( Rise Bluffton) helping people enhance, upgrade and integrate life experiences using modern-day neuroscience. His brain-based approach to living a healthier life has taken him from board rooms of Fortune 500 companies to local schools showing others with his story that the only thing holding you back from greatness is yourself. His primary focus is upgrading the human condition from suffering and struggle to one of fulfillment, happiness and intentional living that starts from within.