I'm struggling. I was going to skip a week of my mission because I'm just not in the zone. I'm not anywhere near the zone. If I stare off into the distance and squint a bit, I might just be able to see the zone but probably not because I can't find my glasses. The first thing that goes when I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed is my ability to make decisions. I'm talking there's three or four beats after someone asks me if I want sugar in my tea. Decisions are life's taxes dressed up as birthday cards - ooh how pretty and sparkly then, ugh responsibilities. Sometimes I think we'd all be better of without them.
That's part of the reason why I choose last week's Mission Acceptance, to show that constantly striving for control was not a need but a toddler like want. I don't want to feel scared, I don't want to feel vulnerable so I'll make sure I keep everything exactly in it's place, exactly where I put it. And who feels the impact of this more than our children?
So I decided to hand control over to the boy and actually I was quite looking forward to it; accepting yourself also means accepting your fate. The only non negotiables were that he had to have his nappy changed and he had to go to his speech therapy.
Roscoe spent the first day with his father and when he got home he was just about ready for bed. He usually settles by himself but on this night he gripped his grubby little hands around my neck, forcing me to hang awkwardly off the edge of his toddler bed as he drifted off to sleep. It probably wasn't the ideal way to spend the first half an hour of precious adult time but it was nice.
The next day I was feeling positive but Roscoe was not. It was one of those 'I hate everything but yoghurt and Peppa days' and I had to go along for the ride. It started with asolutely refusing to brush his teeth. I had to make myself take deep breaths as I put his toothbrush away, one week of plaque wouldn't do long term damage, would it? He also refused to have a bath. He was happy to go to speech therapy but didn't really want to do any of the tasks. I had to sit on my hands and cringe as he chucked wobbly after wobbly. I finished the day with a stinky, snack filled boy who didn't seem ready for bed in any way. I cracked. I put him to bed against his better judgement but he was asleep within a minute so what does he know?
The next morning, Roscoe threw all his toys into the bath. Convinced that giving him the space to choose he had made the right decision, I excitedly filled the tub. He point blank refused to get in. We went into town. I have a system for our weekly expeditions into the town centre - one shop for mummy, one shop or activity for Roscoe. I know how to do compromise. It worked well for H&M, I was allowed a sixty second dash around Primark and then Roscoe point blank refused to go into Zara. With Roscoe in charge we checked out the loos, I had to spend a hard earned pound on the ghastly Thomas ride and I apologised 168 times as Roscoe ran full pelt into other shoppers.
Eventually the boy settled, at BHS or more specifically the lighting department. Roscoe has a thing for lights. Big ones, small ones, round ones, tall ones but especially lamps. BHS was heaven. As I watched the lights reflected in his eyes and the joy radiating from his face, I realised what a gem I had missed with all my parental planning. Roscoe's fab activity choice was worthy of a treat so we went for a milkshake. Roscoe didn't like his milkshake and wanted chips, so we had both.
On my days at work I had planned to spend my time being a bit more 'Roscoe' but my mission had showed me that I don't really know what that is. I tried to stay present and react from an emotional place rather than an intellectual one but it was hard and made me feel too vulnerable in front of my colleagues. I think this is why I finished the week confused rather than enlightened. I had been imagining that not making decisions would be freeing and but I ended up feeling scared about what was coming next - tomorrow, next week, in ten years. I will still give my son more space to choose than perhaps I did before but I have to accept that, for me, freedom needs to exist within a framework that I set. A framework that starts and ends with brushing your teeth.
Could you hand the planning over to your kids?
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