Family Life

Take a walk on the mild side, Dad

Hacking my way towards parental enlightenment

You shouldn’t fight on an empty stomach, I always find, and you certainly shouldn’t go at someone when you have an empty head. Or a tired one anyway. Especially if the internet is not working and it’s your blog day!

I certainly proved that one to myself this morning. Working all weekend, woke up this Monday morning knackered, called the kids for school, and was soon embroiled in a stand-up row with my young teenage daughter.

Yes, K ain’t easy, but neither am I. And there I was in the post-apocalyptical aftermath, my addled wife and fuming daughter gone off to work and school respectively. Mad Max here in his home office moping about not coping.

And there we were in my Parenting Plus course days ago talking about things like the need to press the pause button when rowing with your teenie offspring … respond quietly, walk away, and resume when we are all calm. The pause button? Outta my way Kim and Donald, I want that red button!

A recent topic on my parent blogging network was to answer the simple question: what superpower would you want? I joked about wanting loads of money!

But now, I would love the gift of instant hindsight, if that is not a contradiction!

Instead of buggering up again, despite all my efforts to change, what if I could gain the wisdom straight away … you’ve gone off on one, the power kicks in and you instantly stop, cease digging, and you are enlightened! Simples.

Not lose the plot, repent morosely for hours, and like the reforming alcoholic who fell in the door last night and woke up sore and sorry, promising to get it right next time. Or maybe the time after that …

We had been having a really good week of it, myself and K, and jeepers, there was even eye contact a few times when we were talking — and what beautiful deep blue eyes my lovely daughter has. And such interesting opinions and ideas, and quirks and minor but charming eccentricities.

And I had had a good run myself too … O’s new footballing adventure starting really well … loads of sub-editing work after a worrying drought … I was even on national radio a few days ago, part of a discussion sparked by an article on dealing with hair-triggered teeny daughters I had had published in the Irish Times newspaper last week.

Monday is my blogging day — a new post put out there come hell or high water. When everyone has left the house I grab a coffee and head up to my little backroom office. Can’t wait to hit that keyboard.

Only today no internet. Well I huffed and I hollered and I checked network diagnostics — nothing doing — and I rang my network providers but there was no-one available yet. I went back to bed in frustration and emotional overload.

I must have got some sleep as I got up, checked the internet router properly (with my glasses on) and pressed the button that says “Wifi”. There had been a power cut the last night and the thing had not been switched back on. It doesn’t turn on automatically when the power comes back. Simples.

Amazing how obvious these things are when you have a clear head.

That’s what my instant hindsight superpower could do for me: apply my pause button automatically and reboot me. Better than the other kind of boot I need sometimes… up the transom!

Speaking of falling back on old ways, I also thought of a fantastic post recently from Lucy At Home, called Positive Language – The Brain Theory & How To Use It.

In it Lucy referred to the way our brains work, and the notion of neuroplasticity, whereby our brains are hardwired by repetition to resort to familiar ways of responding, even when they are unsuccesful.

She writes:

Have you ever gone for a walk across a field where no one else appears to have trodden before? You know this to be true because the grass is lush and springs back into place easily after you’ve walked on it.

And then you begin to tread that path everyday. After a few days the grass stays flat when you walk on it. Then it becomes a little patchy with brown, dusty sections coming through. Then the grass has disappeared altogether and a footpath has emerged. Others begin to use it and it broadens and becomes more apparent – easier to use.

That’s it, the old path is familiar and easier to use than a new one hacked through virgin grass and terrain. So K kicks off and if I am not careful, I kick off too. We are at it like Tom and Jerry, and nothing positive is achieved.

So I have to keep walking in the new grass, flattening it down until the new footpath appears. The footpath to enlightenment and happiness ever after. Or at least a positive relationship with my beautiful daughter.

lovely path
My pathway to parental perfection (still under construction)
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54 comments on “Take a walk on the mild side, Dad

  1. How nice it would be to have that switch that would give you the enlightenment straight away. Having a clear head makes things seems like it’s not quite the end of the world when the smallest things happen. Unfortunately, some days kids decide no one needs sleep and we all suffer for it.
    Hope everyone gets some rest and strength to get through the tough moments!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is amazing the clarity a clear – and cool – head brings. Thsnks so much for commenting, oh Magical One !☺


  2. thesingleswan

    OMG, no internet. I would have had a complete melt-down too. Pen x #mondaystumble

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing. My kids aren’t teens but I too could benefit from your hindsight superpower. This was very relatable. Thanks. #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It does get easier, trust me! Brilliant title, by the way – it conjures up an image of you being accompanied on your walk by the girls singing “doo doo-doo, doo-doo” while you play the Lou Reed role 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mackenzieglanville

    What great superpower that would be, I would never have thought of that. And yes a clear head can make us so much better at being parents and at being human . . . and of course at checking if there was power to the wifi. I really enjoyed this post, and I am so glad you took the time to join in the #mg link up

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We had a full day and night without internet, and we had the most fun as a family in a very long time! Take advantage of the moment! #mg xo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good enough usually suffices in the end and no parent or person is perfect. Plus teenage daughters have to break away from their Dads and push boundaries to grow up properly. I had a period when I was a teenager where I just did not respect my Dad at all but of course the love was there and re-surfaced all the deeper in time. You are there. A lot of dads can’t even claim that one and a reminder – good enough will do. #TriumphantTales

    Liked by 1 person

    • I sure hope so. She just told me she was gping to leave home at 18 and just forget all the bad stuff we have done to her. Oh the innocence. The arrogant innocence trading as victim of parental circumstance. Jesus and that was after an attempt to sit down and try and work stuff out. My nerves!😱😀


  8. Funny what having no wifi makes you do instead! Quite novel 🙂 Thanks for linking up #BloggersBests

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Back for a visit, from #mondaystumble

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh I can sympathise! My kids aren’t teens yet though so I guess I have worse to come, what are my chances of perfecting that pathway in the next 5 years?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful post, I can identify with it on so many levels! (Except in the first sentence I was thinking that I have to go rowing on an empty stomach otherwise I feel like bringing up my dinner until I realised you didn’t mean that type of a ‘row’). I also hate how I fall back into those old patterns, it’s a slow process of learning to say sorry from my end and pausing mid retort. Not sure we ever will get it 100% right but then, as my friend the therapist says, this is a necessary part of the process for our kids to desire independence. You don’t WANT them to be living at home forever either. Well done btw on the News Paper and radio appearances, nice to know I’m mingling with celebs here 😀 #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your observations. I just found Lucy’s description of the well worn paths of one’s default reaction to situations and the image of the effort involved in establishing a new neurological pathways so eloquent and interesting. Also helps explains why the old default reaction won’t magically fade away easily!! My daughter told me recently she going to leave home at 18 and forget everything we had put her through. I think we have a few issues to reso before then!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lol, yes mine is almost 16 and says she’s moving out then. On the whole we get along really well though. Thing is, we all blame our own parents for our quirks too! Yes that path analogy is clever, the grass needs time to grow again.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m also one for flying off the handle way too quickly without taking a second to think rationally. The analogy Lucy made is so right though!!!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It definitely very easy to fall back into old patterns, especially when tired! I am a monster when tired. #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Rhyming with Wine

    Hindsight would be an incredible superpower, and I love Lucy’s worn grass analogy! Really insightful and one I’ll remember! Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam Enda. :0)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. diynige

    No internet I simply couldn’t cope, especially when you a raring to write great read mate Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, internet down and we’re all down in our house. Like flood victims investigating the wreckage of our lives. Broken and confused. And then that green wifi light comes back on … ☺ thanks for commenting

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: - One Messy Mama

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  19. Hmmm, sounds like a situation that often occurs in my household, she’s sooooo much like me at her age (damn, mother telling me ‘I told you so’ in my ear) I jut don’t remember doing it so early, she’s only 13yrs old, sure a waited until my late teens (!) Sound advice about walking away and tone of voice. Must. Try. Harder. #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah it is so important to walk away. Nothing good comes of stoking the fire … but it is very hard. Fail again, fail better!☺ thanks for your commer


  20. I’ve realised over the years that I would die from stress if I had children (I suffer from stress much enough anyway!), and that I’m quite happy about being (apparently) not very fertile.
    Nice about the wifi button – I mean that it was so easy to fix the problem. No internet is annoying because these days, so much of what we do is dependent on an internet connection!

    Liked by 1 person

    • If only all life’s problems were as easy to fix! And yes, life without wifi has become unthinkable!!! Thanks for commenting


  21. Lucy At Home

    I love the idea of having “instant hindsight” – I’ve never thought of that concept before but it would be fabulous superpower! I’m the sort of person who analyses every situation once it’s gone and I’m always thinking “I should have said that” or “I should have kept quiet about that”. Imagine just knowing instinctively to do that stuff while you’re in the situation – would be fab!

    And thank you so much for referencing my post here. I’m really glad that you found it so relatable. It’s so easy to fall back into old habits, even if we’ve been making great progress at new ones, but I do think it helps to picture it in this way and drag yourself back to that new path again. #blogcrush


    • Yeah I really loved your post, both the concepts and the way you expressed it all so elegantly. Yeah instant hindsight would maybe avoid a lot of foot in mouth situations that we later regret!! Thanks for commenting Lucy

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Firstly, congratulations on your publication! Secondly, I really enjoyed this post, it was food for thought. I too would love instant hindsight, I hate the hindsight that you have and then dwell upon for days – instant would be much easier! I loved the reference to Lucy’s post and finding new paths, so, so true and not something I always do. Thanks so much for linking this to #thursdayteam

    Liked by 1 person

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  24. I like all the references you gave on parenting! It is so true. We just have to do what we can do.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. No internet! That is almost a national disaster, only second to no teabags! Oh and raising teens, minefield, but you can do this, this new path, it’s going to be smoother #blogcrush x

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I am threading on the lightest, softest new grass – sometimes!😉 Thanks for commenting


  27. Wonderful posts (both yours and Lucy’s). I hate those guilty, painful ruminations when you snap… Replaying and berating yourself on how you should have handled it better x #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boy so do I … that damn repetition compulsion … what an idiotic thing. Things you know don’t work out well and you still do them. I guess that’s why change is so hard! Thanks for commenting


  28. What a lovely post! Full of truths and very well-written. Thank you for a good read!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Alice Letters to my Daughter

    Great post, and I love the one from Lucy too! I’m also on a journey of re-wiring my brain, although I think that’s a permanent state of affairs. It’s certainly not easy, but I find imagining scenarios regularly helps to lay down some of the ground work in a practice arena so you’re more reasy when the real thing comes along.

    Liked by 1 person

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