What a year it has been, and we are only ten days in. I knew saying “Happy New Year” wasn’t really going to really change anything, but I had hope.
Instead of new beginnings, my kids went back to online school (after 3 months in person) and we saw social unrest like we never have before. Both reminders there is still a lot of healing to do.
It’s exhausting. The mental load on parents is exhausting. The social stress on our kids is exhausting. And I won’t even try to pretend I know the bone deep exhaustion of healthcare workers, activists, teachers and so many others who have been working tirelessly for months.
It is a lot.
Yet, we have to keep going. If you are struggling in any way, please reach out. We do not have to go through this alone. It is not a sign of weakness. Let’s be here to support each other and we will get through this.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing the blog for over seven years. I have grown so much, and obviously so have my kids, that I thought it would be fun to revisit some of the blogs and see how I would expand on my advice.
“Instant Replay” was originally posted on January 4, 2014:
My five-year-old is a sports nut, anything that has a ball he wants to play, watch and then play some more. Anyone who has watched a sporting event on TV can attest to the fact that nearly every play is followed by an instant replay, often in slow motion. In the event a replay is not shown, our TV allows us to rewind the play ourselves so that we can watch and re-watch as many times as we would like. Because of this, every game played in our house, including board games, involves at least one replay showing how the action unfolded.
On one hand, the replay can be a strong teaching tool. By looking at how we did something, we can look at it again to find areas to improve so that we can do it better/different the next time. We can also look at the replay of how someone else did something or handled a specific situation and we can learn from them as well.
On the other hand, the replay can create a never-ending loop that leads to insanity. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, let me explain. The replay also used in our house for each child to recount the grave injustice that their sibling has committed against them. After the initial replay, I am provided with the camera angle from the other child’s perspective, which naturally tells a slightly different story. Unlike the replay official, I don’t get to go hide under a hood to think about and decide which camera angle shows it best. I have to make an immediate decision to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible. Like any sporting replay, my rulings on the field are usually met with cheers from some fans and groans from others. The most important part is that play resumes.
Play resumes. They keep going and within minutes the incident is all but forgotten (or replaced by the next replay). They learn from it, accept it and move on. If only it were always that easy - but who’s to say it always has to be as complicated as we make it?
One last thing don’t forget that when you pull together all the replays and keep the best ones, you get a highlight reel.
Some things don’t change. My five-year-old is now twelve and still a sports nut. Replaying certain plays that happened during a game is still a regular occurrence, as is replaying funny Tik Tok videos or songs to learn the latest dance. Fortunately, now that the kids are older, I spend less time as the referee, but there are still days I find myself wishing I could hide under the tent.
What I would add is it is easy to get stuck in a replay. How many times do we rerun situations from work or relationships in our heads? Do we call our close friends to recount each detail of a story where we were wronged? In the thinking or retelling, we keep the memory alive. Yet, no matter how many times we go over it, the outcome will never change.
The key is how we move forward. We can’t keep reliving, regretting or repeating the replay.
If you find yourself in a replay loop, follow these four steps as a guide to get back on track:
Don’t miss a post – sign up to receive the blog in your inbox every week. Scroll to the top of the page and you’ll see a box to enter your email in the upper right side of the page.
Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.