APSGO Parenting Blog

I was going to a conference, and had agreed to carpool with someone else I’d just met. We planned to meet at 10:30, and I would drive us to the conference. At 10:00, she called to tell me she wasn’t dressed yet, but would be leaving shortly. There was no way she would be able to meet me by 10:30, and I didn’t want to be late, but what choice did I have? I arrived at our meeting place and waited. And waited. And waited. And the longer I waited, the more angry I got. She finally showed up almost an hour late and we headed off, arriving late for the conference.

Afterwards, I told a friend I’d felt stuck, angry, and resentful, unable to leave. I said, “She should have released me, told me to go on without her.” And my friend asked, “So who had the keys? And who had the car?” I was shocked when I realized that I’d been able to leave all along.

This situation was more of the same old craziness, like kids keeping me waiting, being constantly late because of them, and I was having a mental tantrum. Even though I had the car and I had the keys, I didn’t know how to leave, because I didn’t realize I could release myself. I didn’t know how to give myself permission to take care of myself. What I forget sometimes is that other people aren’t responsible for getting me what I want. I’m responsible for getting me what I want.

What I would do differently next time is release myself graciously and say, “We agreed on 10:30, so I’ll be leaving now,” or “I want to be on time, so I’ll see you there.” I could look after myself, and I could do this without anger, blame, rudeness, just in kindness – to her, and especially myself.

Marie Starr, Brampton

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Association of Parent Support Groups in Ontario (APSGO)