Getting Reactive

Remember how action-packed our Thanksgiving weekend was? When I wore my family out with fun-filled activities? And how overwhelmed Declan was with the whole thing – especially the Michael Franti extravaganza.

I ended up having a big old talk with my therapist, because I admit, as I complained on Mile High Mamas, I have been feeling a bit at the end of my rope with Declan lately.

I mean, in general I feel so lucky. Most days he is such a great kid. Then he gets what we call “mopey disease.” Where he is just one big pile of MOPE.

And it’s hard for me because I WANT him to be so excited. Like, I mean, how COOL is it that we are taking him to such an AWESOME concert, right? Shouldn’t he just be EXPLODING with SPASTICITY?

That’s when my therapist, who totally calls me on my shit, reminds me of my “chaos moments,” and how I want to crawl inside my head and not talk to anyone. And then my therapist, who also totally knows her shit as well as mine, reminds me kids have all those same feelings but they are totally amplified seeing as they don’t even know what to do with them.

She gave me some specific tips, but one really hit home with me.


Isn’t that back-ass-wards? We spend all this time in school and in the workplace teaching ourselves to prep, plan, get ahead of any catastrophe that could and would happen.

And dudes, I am SO good at planning.

But here she was, suggesting I take a step back and follow Declan’s lead. Let him tell me where he wants to sit in the concert hall. Let him play with my iPhone for a few minutes while Michael Franti is playing because it’s something that he knows. Let go of my preconceived notions of the super-awesome time we are going to have and just enjoy the moment, in the moment.

Oh, Lord. This is so hard for me, but I am going to try.

This article has 16 comments

  1. Sizzle

    Oh dear. This is SO ME. I can plan my way out of anything or prepare ahead of time for EVERY available scenario (Which is why I am great at event planning) but to just BE? Forget it! And to be reactive like that?

    That would freak me out.

    Which means I should totally do it too.

  2. Bridge

    Oh sweetie, I can so relate given my type A personality type mothering. I have a son who is pretty much an emotional straight arrow. I could surprise him and take him on a private jet to sit in the Yankees dugout and he’s be “cool”. It drives me crazy!!!!! Where are the oohs and aahs? Where is the excitement?

    I think you remind me how I love to have a therapist to remind me my kids are not me once in a while.

  3. Megan

    I have trouble with this too. But sometimes it’s best to just stop and smell the roses.

  4. chloebear

    good therapist, looks like she knows her stuff (and yours too). Don’t worry just another stepping stone on Declan’s path. You’ll get it I’m sure, and then he’ll be talking about how cool you were taking him to that concert.

  5. mothergoosemouse

    That makes so much sense. I need to keep that in mind myself when the girls don’t react the way I hope they will.

  6. monstergirlee

    you mean my boy is not as enthusiastic about the things I want him to be? what? how can this be? OK, I kid. Really tho, I’ve run into that recently, and it is a little tough to deal.

  7. fruitlady

    You can do it mama Greeble! And remember how much he loves the Franti music after.

  8. Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas

    I like your therapist – she sounds pretty awesome.

    I posted a couple months ago about being “in the moment” with my son.

    Declan is one of my all-time most favoritest names ever, btw!!

  9. Michelle

    I have a feeling you are going to find many kindred spirits within the comments that lie after this post of yours and you will realize that this is SO many of us. Not just moms, but kids and families that are so like what you just described. Take our family for instance- at the end of nearly every night, I am saying to my husband, “WTF is his problem? Why is he so MOPEY!?? SERIOUSLY!!”- referring to my almost 4 1/2 year old who is constantly, huffing, or puffing, or whining, or head hanging, or ape arming, or groaning- you get the idea. What the hell does he have to be so depressed about?! He’s FOUR and he’s got a damn good life. I mean, my life revolves around trying to enrich his life with activities and such that are fun and educational (like all of us) and all he does, and I do mean ALL on most days lately, is complain about it. It is SO draining and it’s bringing me down man. Find some joy and put it on your face boy! We put all this effort into doing this activity FOR YOU, we came HERE for YOU, and look at you- mopey mopertons! But, then I realize that the days when he is the most mopey are the days that I am trying to get things done and not just “being” with him- building legos or interacting in some other way that he is asking for. I say, “Just one more minute- mommy has a little work to do” or “I have responsibilities around here that need to get done before I can sit down and play”, or “I’ll be right there”, etc, etc. So…I can learn from this too- Be REactive. Got it. Go with HIS lead and let some things go UNdone (*GASP!*)- it’ll be really hard for me too, but I need to do something. This mopey-ness is driving me crazy!

  10. Ashleigh

    Sounds like good advice to me.

    Just let life happen. Not everything has to be planned right?

  11. zipper

    great post. always good thing to remember and hard to do.

  12. NaysWay

    And I thought I was a Scrooge for not being as excited as my kids! I’m the opposite. I’m the reactive your therapist is talking about. Personally, I like my life scheduled and planned. With my kids? Not so much. And I thought that was a bad thing. Good luck. It’s a hard habit to break.

  13. Heather

    You know what? I’m gonna try that, too.

    After I pick myself up off the floor because MICHAEL FRANTI. OMFG.

    I lurve him just a teeny, weeny bit.

    “All the freaky people make the beauty of the world…”

    Well said, Mr. Franti.

  14. Anonymous

    great post. I feel your pain.

  15. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    oh and Heather – YES MICHAEL FRANTI!!!!

  16. carrie

    Yes, it does seem backwards – but she’s probably right. I get twisted when the event does not go the way I had planned in my mind as well- but I just need to let my kids do what they’re gonna do sometimes!

    I sure wish they’d hand out manuals with each individual child. That might help!

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