This Is The Captain Speaking, “We Are Expecting A Lot Of Turbulence Today!”

I flew to Chicago this past weekend to spend time with my parents and sisters (kid-free! woo hoo!).

 photo DD19CC86-3E5E-474A-A82D-914420F9AEAC_zps7uloflvk.jpg
Isn’t my family the cutest??  photo D9D039DC-7888-4B19-A981-6534E77EE414_zpst0dzthgv.jpg

On the flight home, the turbulence was so bad that the seat belt sign never turned off. It really tested the limits of my motion sickness medicine.

And it also triggered a memory. For the first 5-6 years I was a mom, I was TERRIFIED to fly alone. Anytime I would experience turbulence I literally thought the plane was going to crash. I had flown on hundreds of flights in my life…none of which ended with a crash (obviously)…yet, as a new mom, I was certain of my impending doom.

I was not afraid of flying. I was afraid of flying alone.

Well, not technically. I was afraid of dying and leaving my children motherless. And the turbulence reminded me of how little control I have.

I am not sure when the shift changed, but the turbulence no longer scares me. I have come to understand it’s just part of the flight.

And I am not sure when the shift in motherhood happened, but I have come to realize that turbulence is a normal part of life.

Perhaps I have embraced what experts like to call adulthood.

In America, there is this intrinsic desire for life to be easy. And anything that challenges ease terrifies us…or at the very least annoys us.

It filters down through every aspect of life. We want motherhood to be easy. To come naturally. To wear a pretty bow.

But life is gritty. Children are opinionated. And messy. And loud. And don’t seem to understand I like things to be easy.

Raising kids is turbulent (see what I did there?). The bumps, bruises, occasional puking, and discomfort don’t mean you’re crashing. They simply mean you’re living.

I have three boys. THREE. And they are physical. Telling them not to fight is like telling me to stop watching reality TV. It ain’t gonna happen. We were at a soccer game recently, and I asked if they could move their wrestling match behind the bleachers where no one would be bothered.

This behavior used to humiliate me. I would apologize to those around me. I would beg and beg and beg them to stop. I would be sweating and bordering on tears. And the wrestling would continue anyway. Now I ask them to relocate. (And ignore strangers who don’t know how boys operate.)

{Insert obvious disclaimer that they’re not allowed to wrestle everywhere. I pick my battles wisely.}

Boys will challenge every law of physics. But the turbulence won’t kill me. (It may come close, though.)

One of those boys is three. My fourth three year old. A crash landing may be preferable to enduring the 3’s for the fourth time. But I have come to learn that every tantrum ends and potty training eventually takes. When Levi throws a fit, I tell him, “This is not my first rodeo. You have to try a lot harder than that to scare me.”

With my first two kids, tantrums and potty training nearly did me in. By round four, I know they’re a normal part of navigating this crazy world. A stinky part, but a part nonetheless.

My children have become far more enjoyable when I adjusted my expectations to know that turbulence is a normal part of raising kids. I have had to learn this the hard way…and perhaps experience is the best teacher…but maybe you can figure this out the easy way.

It is valuable to have both high expectations for kids (they will live up to them!) and also expect them to act like children (they will prove their age!). Occasionally my kids will ask me the meaning of an everyday term that seems like everyone should know. And in those moments I am reminded that kids have not been around for very long, and there is still so much for them to learn.

If you can adjust your expectations to understand this…and realize they normally learn in very loud, very emotive ways…the hard won’t be quite so hard.

Buckle your seatbelts, friends. This is gonna be a wild ride.

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One thought on “This Is The Captain Speaking, “We Are Expecting A Lot Of Turbulence Today!”

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