F is for Fail

In the Degree of Life I fear I am failing my elective.

Having signed on for Parenting 1A (0-4) and 1B (5-9), and the myriad follow-on topics, I assumed they would merge seamlessly, each one the preparatory pre-requisite for the next. I felt relatively prepared for the rigors of 1A: the sleepless nights and nappies. The sore boobs and stretchmarks. The crying. The confusion. The frustration. The pain. Even the odd midnight dash to emergency didn’t phase me. I had done the reading, received minor tutelage and was excited by the challenge, and by the end of the topic my efforts duly warranted a credit. A pass mark at least. I enjoyed the learning. Those were the days.

The requirements of Parenting 1B appeared suddenly. Without warning. Life upped the ante.

The happy rewards and easy rhythms of this topic’s predecessor are gone and in their place await a bombardment of demands. Where previously intuition and instinct confidently underpinned much of my decision making and action, I now find they are letting me down. My response in so many situations now seems to be lost amid a frustrated internal scream and without any clarity I lose control and resort to anger.

I am shouting. A lot. The shouting feeds resentment which feeds more shouting and the ugly animal continues to grow and fester. It needs a cage.

I am not enjoying it much. At some point in my studies I lost control. The demands seem so great and so vast and so varied and for so little reward. Just as I feel confident with one assignment another looms to demand my attention. But I can only be in one place at a time and so vital work goes unfinished. Unattended. Such is life when you are outnumbered.

I don’t want to fail. Far too much is riding on this topic for me to founder. I know what I need to do. I need to see success in the small things. Even the tiniest assignment can bring reward. It is hard to see the celebration of shoes on when you are already late but it has to be done. The little bricks of good, of positive, of distinction are there beneath the rubble but they have to be sought and each time, celebrated.

I hate to say it goes against the grain. My instinct seems to be to punish: all too easy when things needing admonishment appear so often and so obvious. Perhaps the real assignment of this topic is to seek out the fragments. To build a positive foundation from those tiny bricks of good. Pay more attention to the smaller things and less to the more overt, however challenging. Perhaps, over time, the good will triumph. The shouting will stop. The animal will die. Perhaps this approach will lead to a pass.

I just wish someone had told me I would need a microscope.

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2 Responses to “F is for Fail”

  1. Emily Morgan Says:

    Hey – I feel your pain. The class is way harder than you think and it changes you in ways you don’t anticipate. I find myself yelling at my 17 month old and wondering how I turned into such an unpleasant person. Good luck – I wish you the best of luck! One incident at a time..

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