I’m re-reading one of my favorite books, Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, and one part particularly struck me in my reading last night.
It’s when main character Fanny’s grave, serious uncle agrees to allow Fanny to do something he would rather she did not: get up early after being up very late (so she can say goodbye to her brother, William, who leaves in the morning).
After much discussion Fanny’s uncle, Sir Thomas, fondly says “well, well.” And Fanny knows she has been given permission to be present at this farewell breakfast.
It got me thinking on the ways that we give, or withhold, our permission.
Oftentimes it’s a whiny, wheedling, “pleeeeease” that gets our attention, and so we give in reluctantly.
Or we give a firm “no,” knowing full well we’re going to get major pushback.
Sometimes we find ourselves giving an exasperated, irritated “fine, have it your way.”
And sometimes it’s a gentle and indulgent, smiling and fond “fine, have it your way.”
For those last two it’s the same exact words. But the way they are stated makes all the difference.
Try Again Tomorrow
Last week was a pretty tough week around here. (Heard on #AmWriting: “I re-read for comfort.” – Jessica Lahey; this is exactly why I am rereading Mansfield Park.)
There were health problems, kid tensions, financial concerns – all the same things that you probably confront in your own life.
In the midst of it, I thought about the post that a mom I work with in our private coaching community for parents posted last summer, a success story called “Try Again Tomorrow.”
In this post Jen wrote of this phrase, which helped her discipline her 4-year-old daughter – without losing her patience – in a public place, when the girl was roughhousing. (My favorite thing about this post is when Jen identifies herself as “Calm Me.”)
I love how she writes of the success she found in helping her daughter understand that some days, we screw up. Each day we confront and deal with problems, and some days we simply handle this better than other days.
Some days things will work out, and sometimes not so much.
So what can we do then, if we screw up? If we don’t handle the problems today very well? If things don’t work out the way we wanted?
We can try again tomorrow.
Reading the post I come away feeling like Jen is giving both her daughter, and herself, permission. It’s as if she’s giving a fond and gentle “well, well.” We can always try again tomorrow.
Giving Ourselves Permission
I thought about this post during my tough week and realized, I can give myself permission:
– To not finish everything on my to-do list
– To eat extra helpings of Nutella and frosting occasionally
– To worry, especially about ongoing things that people tell you “oh, don’t worry about that.”
Giving myself permission to do these “bad” things means that I am living my life. I’m acknowledging the hit.
It gives me fuel for when, inevitably, I wake up next morning ready to tackle the problem, or at least look at it from a fresh perspective.
I think that’s the tricky part, the getting back on track. One day of Nutella and frosting is fine – seven days, or fourteen days of it is a binge.
It feels ironic to me that giving myself permission – giving myself this one day – is what limited this indulgence to just one day.
Had I beaten myself up over that one day, and told myself “there’s no point in trying to get on track now, just give up and go get some more Nutella,” I’d probably still be trying to climb out from under empty jars of this addictive stuff.
But instead saying “it’s okay. Try again tomorrow,” took the pressure off.
So, this week I’m leaving you with a question:
Where in your daily life can you ease off the pressure, either of your child, or yourself? Click here and let me know!
It may not be obvious, especially at first. But keep looking. I’m wishing a success story for you in which the words “try again tomorrow” play a big part.
Keep reading below for What’s up on the podcast/on YouTube/in the Facebook group… And for the picture of the week!
Wishing you a wonderful parenting week!
What’s up on the podcast this week:
We’re talking about 4 ways you can help your child make a friend.
Click weturnedoutokay.com/275 to listen!
What’s up on my YouTube channel this week:
Extending on this theme, the live YouTube (I do one every Thursday) is called
“4 ways to help your child make friends” and it is available at the link just above! Or,
Check out my YouTube channel by clicking here.
What’s up in the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group this week:
Each Monday at 10:30 a.m. EST, I do a superquick Facebook live that I call “Magic Words for Parents”… This week I shared one way to help your child make a friend. Click here to join the Facebook group : )
Picture of the week:
This was one proud kid, the day he and his dad finished the tree fort! We notice that it gets used a lot more frequently when friends come over, which made me think of what’s up this week in the WTOO universe, where we are talking about lots of ways you can help your child make friends.
PS – If you’re enjoying this Weekly Parenting Newsletter, sign up to receive it in your inbox, or forward it to a friend who needs a parenting boost today.