The direction of relief

Whenever I find myself in a situation where I don’t know what to do and my emotions feel all upside down, I always try to remember to move in the direction of relief.

It’s a principle I learnt from Abraham-Hicks, who I used to listen to and read like the Bible – back in those days when I had unlimited time to listen to and read many things! But it’s one that’s stuck because it works for me…

Essentially, moving in the direction of relief encourages you to take a step back from the maelstrom of what you’re thinking and feeling, and try to find a small hint of relief. Then you follow that feeling until you can see a way out that feels like a release of sorts… Away from the turmoil or angst or upset. Downstream, with the current, going with the flow – all these things.

Crikey Moses, but I have needed it this week! And it’s only Tuesday, before 9am.

Arthur has been resisting the potty for the last few days (sorry, non-parent-readers, but you cannot know how distressing this is!) Yesterday he knowingly peed on the floor, pretty much while staring at me confrontationally (although I may have exaggerated that ever so slightly) and then declared he wanted to wear nappies like a baby. Because he likes babies.

Cue me wanting to tear my hair out because what the hell have we been doing for the last month if we’re just going back to square one?!

Here’s what Dr Google told me about potty regression:

Two and a half is a transitional age. Children are asserting their independence. They want to be in charge of their lives. They are pushing against babyhood but struggling to grow into that “preschool” age. Potty regression can be a side effect of all these developmental challenges. It is one of the three things that they can truly control (food and sleep being the other two).

After much Googling and chatting to my mom (who managed to potty train four children, bless her soul) and venting to my friends on WhatsApp and discussing with Mark, we are letting him be a baby. But not just the nappy part – also the no treats part, the no TV, the bath and bedtime at the same time as his little sister. Because there are perks to being a big boy that he needs to recognise.

What I needed to recognise was how emotionally invested I felt in all of this. There is no right or wrong way to potty train, there is no right or wrong way to parent. It’s all just a big confusing mess, some days, and all you can do is move in the direction of relief. Tread lightly, try to keep a sense of humour (haha, what?) and heap on the love – self-love as well as parental.

And on that note, Happy Valentine’s Day! We are treating ourselves with a bottle of bubbly and dinner after the kids are asleep… This counts as pretty exciting in these parts!

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