This week has been a doozy…
I found myself within the Conscious Parenting Gap, the gap between knowing what to do as a conscious parent and actually doing it during a triggered moment.
I completely went off the rails and yelled at my 14-year old daughter – mind you, it is the week before I publish the book, Am I Screwing Up My Kids (The Eight Foundational Concepts to Close the Conscious Parenting Gap).
Nice. Besides screwing up my kid, talk about feeling like a screw up myself.
I was totally stressed about making five short videos to accompany my book.
I had never even opened the iMovie program on my computer before last week and I am not comfortable on camera.
When I filmed myself, I noticed for the first time, how many ummms and awkward pauses I use to communicate.
My brain went into lots of negative thinking. I coached myself through it and as I attempted to edit the footage, I kept getting retriggered again and again.
My brain would spiral into focusing on my flaws – the wrinkles; the way I speak; how long does it take for a person to get a succinct thought out for the love of God…just to name a few.
I continued to breathe and dissolve the negative thoughts as I’ve been trained to do.
It was hard. I felt stressed.
I had deadlines from my publisher.
I needed to be in my prefrontal lobe, the part of my brain where I can actually learn and absorb something new, as I learned to use iMovie and create watchable videos.
I reached out for editing help from my daughter.
Initially, she and her friend helped a lot and it was a lifesaver.
And then I kept asking for more and more help and she sort of got annoyed with me.
I was highly irritable and frustrated.
As I struggled one evening with iMovie and thought about the looming deadline two days away, I asked once again for her help.
She gave me about five seconds of her time and behaved pretty put out about it.
I sat stewing as she went and hopped into a 20-minute long leisurely shower in MY bathroom.
By the end of the shower, I blew.
I called her names and told her she was spoiled and selfish. I gave her a guilt trip and pointed out all that I constantly do for her.
It was a real low.
Afterwards, I spiraled into all sorts of self-doubt and guilt in my head. I was basically living as the ideal reader of my book.
I couldn’t remember my own advice during that triggered moment.
I found myself within the Conscious Parenting Gap.
The next morning, coincidentally or not, my daughter called me early from school - she didn’t feel well and wanted to come home.
Her allergies were terrible so I picked her up and brought her home.
We laid almost all day in my bed and worked on my video project.
We subtly apologized to each other through actions more than actual words.
We took a walk with the dogs and she let me know that she would like more of a hall pass to be a regular teenager that gets to just think about herself sometimes.
She feels pressured to be considerate and thoughtful all the time.
In essence, she was asking for a hall pass to be human and fully accepted in her current teenage stage of development.
And I needed the same human hall pass for my outburst the night before.
We texted about it later after we had vented to each other.
We both acknowledged that we heard the other’s words.
We each promised to do better next time.
Once we had reached the other side of this experience, I began to think and search for the real issue behind my triggered outburst.
Of course it had to do with leftover crap from my childhood.
I went back to my daughter the next afternoon and had the “do-over-convo”, (step 5 in the “productive conversation” that I teach in my parenting programs).
I explained to her about the roots of my trigger and apologized again for my outburst.
She apologized as well.
We are head over heels in love again…or at least I am.
The “good enough” videos have been turned in to my publisher.
The videos are a little reality series of our Rubenstein clan called, “True Confessions of a Connected Family”.
I hope you guys download and get a kick out of them after you read my book – out April 14th.
Last night, I read through parts of my book.
I realized that I followed my own process and advice this week and I was actually my own ideal reader.
It is impossible to do it right all of the time.
We all are layered and human and deserve a hall pass.
And if this hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have gotten to experience the benefits from the “do-over-convo”, resulting in feeling even more connected with my sweet girl.
Life is messy and imperfect. As I read my book last night, I felt proud of it and excited to share the information with you that continues to be so helpful in my life.
Now, if only this under the skin stress pimple would erupt and go away before next Thursday when I attend my book launch event in D.C.!?!?!
Update: Am I Screwing Up My Kids? is on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E60GWYC