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.
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.