As a Mom, I’ve assigned myself many tasks. Not sure how, why or when, but somewhere along the way it seems I appointed myself as the Keeper of Calm. What this role entails is going to ridiculous lengths to keep everyone in my family from ever experiencing extreme emotions (i.e. stress, anger, fear, sadness).
Now, if you’ve seen the movie Inside Out, this is basically the premise of the whole film. But instead of forcing “Joy” on my family, I feel like I’ve started enforcing “non-emotion.” No. Conflict. Ever.
Well, aside from being a completely impossible role to fill, it’s also totally absurd? I’ve realized that each time I thought I was diffusing a situation, I was really discounting very real feelings and emotions. Instead of addressing issues, and moving forward productively, I’m encouraging everyone to tamp them down and ignore them. Instead of hearing each other out, I’m forcing peace treaties that solve nothing.
It’s not that I don’t think these feelings are valid. I think it’s just that I’m a control freak. And feelings like anger and sadness are unpredictable. Hurtful words may leave a sting long after they’re uttered. And I feel the need to protect my family from them.
But what I’m coming to realize is our home, our family is a safe place. And my job isn’t to keep the emotions out, but rather to create a place where they’re shared freely with love, support and forgiveness. It’s hard to resist my urge to keep things even, but at least I know I’m doing it. And, as GI Joe would say, knowing is half the battle.