Inner Poise

by Stella Hervey Birrell

with apologies to Helen Fielding

 

Be sure to carve out some ‘Me Time!’

Switch off alarm.
Crawl into living room.
Do yoga, eat bagel, access social media.
Feel bad about two of these three things.

Children will always test your boundaries – you don’t always have to react to them!

Wake children.
One says ‘go away.’
One says ‘you’re late.’
It is 7:02am

Children who act out are secure in your affections!

Shout upstairs to children.
Children yell back.
Threaten removal of SCREEN TIME.
Children arrive downstairs.

Your children must learn to listen to their own bodies and appetites!

Sort out uniform crises.
Spend ten minutes, per child, coaxing breakfast choice.
Prepare breakfast.
Turn on shower.

You are the most important person in their lives – remain present and accessible!

Peace-make (from shower).
Chivvy progress (from shower).
Scream instructions (from shower).
Accept criticism of parental strategies from children (from shower).

Here is a list of household tasks your children can help you with!

Dress self.
Clear uneaten breakfast dishes.
Brush child’s hair as they scream and clutch roots.
Ask children to complete jobs, brush teeth.
Repeat forty four times.

Well done! You are teaching your children negotiation and compromise!

Threaten removal of SCREEN TIME if jobs are not completed.
Children yell back that warnings must be provided before said removal.
Capitulate to requisite 1 out of 3 for removal.
(1 to 3 to include 2 and a half.)

Enjoy this special time when your children are young!
It goes so fast!

Ask children
to locate
shoes.
Repeat
four –
forty –
four hundred times.

Healthy, consistent boundaries, applied firmly and with patience, are good for your children!

Pull together coats, bags, shoes, self:
gather shreds of mental well-being.
Shout from door.
Threaten removal of SCREEN TIME.
Leave for school.

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STELLA HERVEY BIRRELL

Stella is an award-winning poet and novelist living in East Lothian, Scotland. Her first novel was published in 2016. Short pieces have appeared in various places, including The Scottish Book Trust’s Nourish collection 2017, The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival Writing Competition Winners Anthology 2018, and the Dear Damsels writers collective. She blogs at #atinylife140, tweets as @atinylife140, instagrams her cat at stella_hb and can be found on Facebook here.