Breathe Out, Mama

“I am angry. I must take care of my anger.”

“I’m coming with you.”

Thich Nhat Hanh doesn’t say what to do when your three-year-old follows you as you walk away to “cool the flames of your anger with the wisdom of Buddhist thought.” So I wing it.

I wing it everyday. Some days with grace, and most often, lately, without. I admit it: I get angry at my three-and-a-half year old. He’s three and a half! His being three and a half is mainly why I am half-way batty at the end of the day. But his being three and a half also makes it clear that I’ve got to come clean with this anger thing. He is not the true cause of my anger, and he certainly isn’t responsible for it.

So I struggle to model for him how to handle anger, and when I fail, I apologize. We talk about what you can do when you feel angry, and basically it comes down to two things: breathe, and walk away. I am getting better, a bit, at these, even with a three-year-old following me! Talk about a Zen master.

Here’s a good example of my reigning gracelessness: The other day I was sitting at the computer, with one kid strapped to me in the didymos and another trying to climb me, and I just wanted to get one thing done, for crying out loud! (publish a post to this blog, in fact) and I stood up. I could feel the stress moving through my body, I was walking away, but really I wanted to run away! And I was muttering to myself, “I just want to do something without an interruption, with no one climbing on me, I just want a little break, I can’t take it…” and Orlando was continuing to talk to me, saying something over and over, but I kept on: “I just want some peace and quiet, just …for …one second,” finally slowing down enough to focus on my son below me, as he looked up at me.

He was saying, “Breathe out, mama. Breathe out.”

I breathed out. I felt better. Bit by bit, breath by breath.

For kids: When I Feel Angry by Cornelia Maude Spelman
For mamas and papas: Anger by Thich Nhat Hanh

Peaceful Parenting

Here are some posts where I share my bumpy path toward peace in parenting, a journey into healing my heart in ways I didn’t know it was broken.

Connecting to My Kids

The Good Place
Sibling Apology
Playing the Mindfulness Bell Game and The Mindfulness Bell

Love in Your Pocket
Connection Rituals
What We Found

Don’t Tell Me What to Do
Where Do You Find the Time?
Holding Us Up (Family Pillars)

Children, Lies, and Broken Glass
Playing with Imaginary Guns

Connecting to Myself

Quiet, Please
The Pace to Peace Is Filled with Potholes (And I Lose My Way A Lot)
Who’s Your Mama?

What’s Real
You Can Dance
So, how are you feeling? And why?

The Other Mother (published in Portland Family Magazine)

The Heart Determines
Carrying the Stone

Our Lives

A few funny, quirky, sweet, and crazy moments in our lives…

I like you if you are very old or very young or anything in between
The Father of My Kids
Dating Orlando
Still Thankful
Things you can say to reasonable and friendly grown-up (but saying them to your kids could drive you insane)
HGTV Comes to Visit
Where the sidewalk ends

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