“I didn’t want to ride the roller coasters today!  

Parenting can be so much like a visit to an amusement park.  Some days we are able to just sit on the bench and watch the roller coasters go up and down, and side to side; twisting and turning with heart stopping drops and loops.  We sit calmly, while screams of fun and fear echo around us.  We give gentle guidance as to what rides they should go on, where to meet, how to behave and so on.  We see the kids’ emotions, actions and reactions, and we are able to observe them and enjoy their rides through them, without riding the “rides” ourselves.  We love to see them having fun and experiencing the literal highs and lows of the rides.  We calmly and lovingly chaperone, letting them experience things themselves, with our reassuring presence there to greet them when the exit the ride.  Then there are the times when we are sitting on the bench and the kids race up and pull at us, saying “Come on the ride!  It won’t be so bad! It is calm.  It isn’t that fast!”  Before we can process what is happening we are persuaded to go on their ride.  Suddenly we find ourselves in the last car on their roller coaster, being pulled up to the top of the highest hills and whipped down to the lowest dips, before being flung backwards into a loop …..going up, down, right, left without even time to realize what is going on.  At the end of the ride we pull into the “station” with a sudden halt, and we think, “I can’t do this anymore.”  “I already did this when I was a kid.”  “I didn’t want to ride the roller coaster today!”.  And so parenting goes………Some days we are able to sit calmly and watch as the kids’ roller coaster of emotions goes up and down…..they are thrilled one moment, then devastated the next, talking calmly with a sibling in one second and furiously yelling the next.  Some days we “sit on the bench” and successfully stay off the roller coasters they ride.  We watch and interact with clarity and without emotion.  We are able to let them experience the ups and downs of the “ride”, with our reassuring presence on the sidelines cheering them on and comforting them when they are done.  Other days we are “pulled aboard the coaster”…….. often unwittingly, as they say…… “It won’t be so bad.  It’s not that fast.  It’s calm.”  Suddenly we are the end car on the coaster of emotions.  We are helplessly, at the mercy of the kids and their moods.  At the height of the coaster we are happy when they are happy, and then we are yanked down at dizzying speeds, as they become frustrated and their mood plummets.   We are “virtually” pulled around the twists and turns of the day, as the kids react to their surroundings and to others around them.  As the last car in the roller coaster of moods and emotions, we are at the mercy of the other cars, the high the lows and everything in between.  The ride moves so quickly, that we don’t even have time to realize what is going on.  At the end of the “ride”, we “pull into the station” with a sudden halt.  It is as if exhaustion claims the “cars” and the ride is done.  We sit there bewildered, looking about us, thinking “I can’t do this anymore.”  “I didn’t want to ride the roller coasters today!”  Parenting really is so much like a visit to an amusement park.  Thank goodness we aren’t the only ones in the park  and we can take it one ride at a time.  From one parent to another, remember — Take each “ride” as it comes and we are not alone in this Amusement Park we call Parenting 🙂 🙂  By Jennifer Barnes (www.jborganizing.com)

©JB Organizing

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