We've all had those days - the ones where you want to crawl back under the covers. When you want to wake up and start over again. When, if you have kids, especially one in the age/phase of testing your limits and pushing your buttons, it feels like they're doing every single thing thing they can possibly think of to drive you up the wall. A bad day at work where anything that could possibly go wrong, goes wrong. The strained family holidays that make you wish there were no holidays, just a few days off from work. Those days when you would like to run away - if even for a temporary vacation or retreat by yourself.
It seemed as though my daughter and I were at odds today. There was yelling. There was a time out. There was me, pulling my hair and counting down the hours until bedtime. There was my daughter storming off to her room. I laugh now, because it sounds like I'm dealing with a teenager. Nope, she's three, but her attitude certainly fits the bill. My first attempt at bringing in art - a bond that she and I share - was a temporary relief before we were back at it. The second time (when I finished this piece) was a success. She was yelling at me, demanding I make her a sandwich, then outraged because I squeezed the jelly on one slice so she wouldn't overdo it before giving it over for her to finish. So I put her in time out, finished making her sandwich, had a chat with her, she suddenly no longer wanted her sandwich (so I put it in the fridge), and I sat down at the table to paint.
And then there was calm. She sat down next to me, started putting her gouache on the palette while I went to get fresh water for our brushes. We worked silently side-by-side. After she was done, she said "mommy, you don't yell at me anymore." I said fine. But you need to work on that bossy attitude - I don't like being yelled at either. She went and grabbed her sandwich from the fridge and sat back down next to me while I finished my work, and we've been fine ever since.
Art let me, let us, run away from the strain and temper and tension of our day, brought us close, and helped us calm down - all while allowing us to remain present in the moment.
What is your outlet when tensions rise? Do you use your own form of art therapy?