If you look up the word “buffer,” it means to lessen or moderate the impact of. Often, we humans buffer in order not to feel a certain emotion.
We overeat or over-Facebook, or we become overly busy—to avoid something. And very often that something is an emotion that we are unwilling to feel.
And then there’s parenting buffering (I made this concept up, because I’ve noticed myself doing this). Parenting buffering is when we avoid parenting because either we’re bored, tired, overwhelmed, feeling “done,” angry, frustrated, unproductive, unaccomplished …
And usually, our biggest parenting buffer is lack of presence. We’re going to do things that take us AWAY from parenting and INTO something else, because of any of those emotions we feel above.
It looks like this:
Bedtime is driving me crazy, and I can’t keep snuggling and lying down, and giving another drink, and and and … so I’m just gonna go on my phone really quickly to “check something.”
I am soooooo bored pushing this swing, so I’m just gonna stick in my earphones and listen to something else.
I can’t handle the noisy car ride and all my kids’ requests, so I’m going to make a phone call
Now, first of all, there is NOTHING WRONG WITH DOING THIS. I am not suggesting that buffering with lack of presence is a BAD thing, and truthfully, as moms, we’re all going to do it here and there. BUT, I AM suggesting that if we were WILLING to feel frustration, or annoyance, or boredom … and just sit with it … and not right away jump out of mothering presence and into something else to avoid the emotion, we could actually get to the other side of the emotion while staying present.
It might be hard to believe, but this is something I practice regularly. And it’s a mothering game-changer. I challenge you to try it.
Stop buffering, start feeling, stay present.