Selective Memory: A Critical Parental Skill?

Used under creative commons license from Flickr.comMy kids are going through another tough phase and it’s affecting everyone. It doesn’t help that their Mom’s place was impacted by the recent floods and that Mom’s close to the end of her proverbial rope, but even without that, there are times that things are just tough with the gang, and it feels like that’s where we are as this new school year really spins up.

And then there’s the impact that the flood had on school too: it was closed for almost two weeks as various issues were resolved, and the high school is queued up to receive all new flooring some time this week too. It’s always something, as Rosanna Rosanadana would say, right?

The school days when school was closed were stressful and I admit, 4 days into ‘extra time’ with my kids during the post-flood period, I finally got fed up and emailed Linda, asking her if she could please just take them for one night so I could have a blessed night off from fights, arguments, hassles and debate. It was ugly at moments.

She figured out how to help out and spell me for a bit and a funny thing happened that very evening…

I missed the little blighters.

Yes, the previous few days had been very contentious and more characterized by glares and grumbles than sunny smiles and hugs, but frankly there was a pall cast over the entire city of Boulder from the flood and post-flood mess, even at my house where we’d remained unaffected.

How could I miss them even after desparately needing a break? Because I have what I believe all effective parents have: selective memory.

Think about it. When you’re in the heat of a tough moment, when your child is upset, obstinate or downright rude, it’s terrible. Worst thing in the world, a moment that can have you questioning why you ever decided to breed in the first place, let alone sacrifice so much of your life to creating a warm, loving and nurturing environment within which they can grow up healthy and happy. Hopefully.

But then let things calm down, look at their angelic faces while they’re sleeping, or peek around the corner while they’re playing and it’s as if all those terrible moments just waft away, leaving your heart full and ready for the next adventure.

That’s what happened with me, I’ sure, and that’s how I managed through a rough bedtime last night just to find myself relaxing and happy with my life and children not an hour later, curled up on the couch reading a book (“Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King, if you’re curious).

Without that selective memory, I’m sure we wouldn’t stick out this parenting job. Then again, we probably wouldn’t be in relationships either, would we? 🙂

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