Choosing to be calm isn’t so easy

Parenting Transformation Journey – Page 13
(Click here for page 1)

Since my last update, I did fall back into some old habits. My husband was busy getting some things done when I discovered that our business support ticket system had not been working properly, for who knows how long. What that means is, basically, when one of our customers needs some help, they submit a ticket. We’re pretty good about responding to those tickets within 1-2 business days, and the system is supposed to automatically send the customer our response.

Well, looks like we’ve been ‘responding’ to the tickets internally, but the notification to the customers were not happening. It worked when it was initially set up, but for some reason, now it would appear to the customer that we weren’t responding at all.

I felt like it was a pretty urgent issue, and I was feeling pretty upset about it, since suddenly I was faced with the task to figure out how long it had been failing, and how many people were still waiting to hear back. My stress levels went up, and – trying to remain calm – I expressed my concern to my super techie husband (who had installed the system), and hoped he would drop everything to fix it.

Well, he was already deep into some other task, and a little put out that I didn’t instead suggest we set some time aside for him to look into it a little later (maybe in 15 minutes, or an hour, for example).

So here was a real test to see if I could practice “calm”. While I didn’t rage, my voice, face, and body was still not close to being calm. Eye rolls, clenched teeth, and deep, irritated breaths are quiet ways of expressing frustration, but they don’t count as being calm.

He did end up dropping everything to fix the issue, but he wasn’t happy about it. It took us both a few hours to cool off and talk through what happened, and identify what we each should have done differently. I could have been more respectful of the timing, or he could have calmly suggested a different time.

It was just interesting to realize that the thing I want to be teaching my children (how to stay calm, even when they’re frustrated) was the very thing that I needed to work on mastering myself. Looks like we’re all on the same journey together.

Later that day my husband and I went on our weekly date. This time we decided to spend some time at the Mesa LDS Temple where we got married 22 years ago. It always provides a good reminder of the things that are most important to us.

When we got home it was pretty late. I realized I had fallen behind in helping my son with his Duty to God program… and we were down to the wire. So he and I stayed up until 1:00 am finishing it. I actually fell asleep on the couch watching the lavalamp across the room, waking up each time he had a question for me.

(Here’s an idea… Need someone to calm down? Just have them watch a lavalamp for 5 minutes!)

Anyway, I’m not sure if my responses those last 20 minutes were very coherent, but he did finally announce that he was finished. He was sooooo happy and excited. He gushed his gratitude and gave me a strong, heartfelt hug for all my help. He almost gave me another one but caught himself when he realized that two in a row might be a little awkward. (Though I wouldn’t have minded 🙂 )

I still had a lesson to prepare (I teach the 14-15 year old girls at church), but I was too tired to pull it together. Instead I decided to wake early and finish getting everything ready the next day.

To stay focused on the positive, I’m choosing to wrap up my post by listing some of our victories this week:

  • My 13 year-old finished his Eagle Scout Proposal (and got all the signatures he needed).
  • My 11 year-old buttoned up his 1st and 2nd class scout requirements and had his board of review for both.
  • I prepared the checklists for my kids’ schooling objectives this year and posted them inside our schooling cabinet.
  • My 13 year-old demonstrated an increased interest in physics and algebra this week, because he needs to understand them better to get the computer game he’s creating to do what he needs it to do. Now he spends free time learning formulas – because he wants to. (I was always told that this could happen with homeschooling… I saw it happen with my oldest in the subject of history and political science… it’s just fun to see it happen again with one of the younger ones in a couple different topics.)
  • My youngest’s reading became noticeably more strong and fluent.
  • My 18 year-old independently set some goals to be completed before he leaves for college.

All in all, I think it’s been a great week. And honestly, I’m most proud of myself just for tracking it. Regardless of the progress or lack of it, I know our family will look back on it with a smile because it was a detailed snapshot in time of life at the Householder home.

If you disagree with anything I’m doing, then before leaving your comments, all I ask is that you please first watch this BBC episode so you can see where this is going. They say that in the middle of a life-saving surgery it can appear as though there has been a murder in the room. It might get a little messy in the middle, but I do believe and trust in the end result. Each of my posts – standing alone – will not provide the big picture… but the episode does. Enjoy!

Leslie Householder

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