Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The devil you know...

A new year, a new 'do

My favorite story when I was little was "It Could Always Be Worse"... You have probably heard some version of this old Jewish folktale. In it, a father complains to his rabbi that his house is too noisy and his family is stressing him out. The Rabbi tells him to bring all his animals inside. Then, of course, the house is even more chaotic. So the Rabbi tells him to put his animals back outside. Now the father enjoys the peace and quiet of his happy home. Nothing has changed, however, just the man's perspective.

I learned a version of the rabbi's lesson myself last week. I used to think that driving my children to school and myself to work was exhausting and stressful. I hated the song requests, the back seat driving, the fighting, and whining and the parking. Then the blizzard hit, and we had to take the bus to school.

And that morning when I finally got back into the driver's seat, what bliss!

I realized this week that I hate taking public transportation with my children. Probably all parents do, but I think I find it particularly stressful as a trans-racial adoptive mother. My little family sticks out pretty much everywhere we go. I'm a tall white woman, and I have two rambunctious and beautiful Ethiopian children. When we are sitting on a bus or a train we are like a little "Trans-Racial Adoption Show!" Nobody, it seems, has anything else to do besides watch our family interact. I can almost see the gears turning as they try to figure us out. (Is her husband really dark? Foster mother? Auntie?) We've never had truly negative experience, thank goodness, but I (and Daniel too) are hyper aware of the attention we are getting.

I feel like all the women are judging me (my parenting, Lily's hair, whether or not I'm letting them play on my phone to keep them quiet...) All the things I judge myself for, I put into the minds of the people around me.

They are probably not thinking badly of me. I know that. I KNOW that, but I don't FEEL that.

It's hard to have an audience for your parenting. When I mess up in private, I can recover faster. When I lose my temper in public then I get stuck in a mini shame cycle, which makes it much harder for me to keep my cool. It's a vicious cycle that can make a 25 minute bus ride feel like an eternity.

So my perspective on the challenges of driving with kids was dramatically altered by a week of parenting on the bus.

I wonder what other challenges I can change my perspective on?

The Lenten season is here, and although I'm not a Catholic, I do like the idea of using this special time to change a habit, grow in faith or simply change perspective a bit. This year I'm trying a Facebook fast. (Really that has been a long time coming.) The Groundhog said that warm weather is on it's way, and although the snow hasn't stopped, it does feel like Spring, and change, are coming...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Add your comment here. Don't worry about logging in... you can just use your name, and leave the "URL" box blank. Thank you! -Becky