Sometimes I Avoid Fighting With My Teens So I Can Have Some Peace

I was in a bad place yesterday. The kind of place where everything feels like a cheese grater sliding down your nerves. I couldn’t find any peace regardless of how hard I looked, and that search included a massage.

The masseuse was able to rub some of my tension away and when I returned home I had decompressed a bit, but I could still feel the bubbling poison rise in my chest each time something came up that I didn’t think should be coming up. A clogged toilet and the fact that we were out of laundry detergent for instance.

woman on couch
We don’t have to tackle a tough subject the moment it arises. Sometimes it’s better to walk away. (Twenty20 @Andrew_Paul)

On tough days, I avoid confrontations with my kids

I think the phrase “one of those days” was coined by a mother. This day felt like “six” of those days combined. I had a raging case of perimenopause that came with a sledge-hammered type headache.

As I walked up the stairs (very slowly, gripping the railing for effect), I decided I’d close my eyes when I reached the top of the hallway, feel my way to my kids’ rooms and close their doors. Then, I’d do the same to the bathroom.

I thought, “Not today, I just don’t want to know what it looks like in their rooms today.”

We were just coming off the weekend and I knew with the extra teenagers that had made their way through my house, I didn’t want to see what their bedrooms had to offer. Not even with one eye.

I admit it: there are days when I’m already struggling and I know it’s best to ignore certain things so I don’t blow a gasket. I don’t want to react in a way that I’ll regret later. I’ve realized that exploding doesn’t help my teens; it doesn’t help me; and it certainly doesn’t help my vocal cords.

I’m better able to handle certain situations like their rooms, grades, or snotty attitudes when I don’t already feel like flipping a table. This isn’t to say I always ignore tough subjects, let my kids off the hook, or send them the message that I don’t care.

But, on the days when my mental health is already precarious I don’t go near the parent portal and I refrain from checking to see if that deflated bag of chips sitting in the pantry is, in fact, empty.

I let my teens’ bad attitudes go to preserve peace in the house

There are times when I let my kids go to their room to cool off instead of addressing their snotty behavior because I know what will happen: I’ll raise their snotty behavior with my even snottier behavior. We’ll all end up crying, and I’ll look like the biggest hypocrite who ever roamed the land.

One of the things I’ve learned as I’ve aged is that everything seems a bit better if you aren’t so quick to react. A deep breath, a walk, or petting your dog has a way of dulling the sharpness when you feel yourself on the edge of something that feels like rage.

We don’t always have to tackle a tough situation as soon as it arises especially when we already feel like a busted can of biscuits.

I don’t always deal with things that come up with my teens immediately. And yes, there are times when I close my eyes and just don’t look because I know in that moment I am not able to deal with it in an effective way.

It’s made me a better parent to occasionally store things in my back pocket and pull them out when I feel stronger. It’s kind of like putting off painting the dining room until you are energized enough to do a good job, only a bit different with a side of guilt.

Even with the guilt, I’ll keep my head in the sand at times because it serves me and my three teens better than if I pounce the minute I see something.

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About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

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