Parenting like Jack Pearson…

is the equivalent of talking to people like I’m in an Aaron Sorkin drama. Imagine knowing just what to say, in just the right moment, with just the right tone and inflection for each word. Unfortunately, when it comes to parenting, (and life in general), after any incident is over, my verbal reel is award winning. In the moment, however, not so much.

I’m blessed beyond belief with two little ones and a husband who pretty much is Aaron Sorkin when it comes to the perfect line. (I mean that as a huge compliment.) Joey, my eight year old son, and Charlee, my five year old girl, are very different in nature. That means my husband and I learn to approach them differently. Since parenting is pretty much doing then learning, I often turn to Jack Pearson for guidance when I have a less than stellar moment, say the wrong thing, or say too much without saying anything at all. Thanks to Jack, I’ve learned a few things. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll know just what I mean:

  1. That breathing technique works. When Joey gets upset, he breathes fast and heavy. Nothing feels better, for me at least, than putting his little face in my hands and telling him to just breathe, while locking my eyes with his. Eventually, his breathing slows, and we can talk it out or come up with a plan of action. Note: This does NOT work when Charlee is in the throes of a full on tantrum. In those moments, she is unable to process anything. I just give her a big ole hug and wait it out. (Learned that the hard way and from some books on parenting.) Once the storm passes, then she can learn a coping technique.
  2. On the spot stories can assuage physical or emotional pain. My husband can instantly make up a story to rival the magic shirt one Jack uses on Kate when she feels left out by some mean girls. Joey and Charlee love them. I never realized the importance of a good story when it came to kids, especially when it’s us doing the telling. This is the time they want to listen to us, and I want to take advantage of that.
  3. We can make our own traditions. Thank you, Pilgrim Rick. This is something I embrace wholeheartedly. Whether it’s as simple as taco Tuesday, breakfast for dinner, (aka Brinner/Dinfest), or making our own pizza. (Wait.These are ALL about food! What can I say – we love that f word.)

Sometimes I wish I did more of these – that I wasn’t so rushed during the school year when I’m teaching, that I was more creative, more calm, more present. There’s still so much to learn; I’m just grateful these two little ones are my forever students. I hope they feel the same.

I also learn from my own husband, who is not Jack, but Joe. He plays this game called Daddy Boss with our kids. It’s basically rough housing at its finest, and Joey and Charlee both live for it. They beg him for it. Charlee has been in it to win it since she was two. If a neighbor heard the squeals coming from our house, they wouldn’t know whether to call the police or laugh out loud. Daddy Boss usually ends with Joe suffering some kind of male related injury, but he never lets the kids down. He has not done push ups with our son on his back, (yet), but he has bench pressed Joey into gales of laughter, accepted that his son may never play baseball, given Charlee all the love and respect a man should give his daughter, (He would totally vogue for her), and embraces who they are as individuals. Sometimes I forget those things when we are bickering, or when we are less than stellar humans to each other.  I lead with emotion, while his verbal reel is always on point. That doesn’t always end well for me, but at the end of the day, he – and those two little humans – are my favorite f word.

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