Mommy Musings

About Kristine Bruneau

Hi. I'm passionate about writing and inspiring others with storysharing. For more than 20 years, I've made a career from writing and marketing communications. My commentaries, stories, and interviews have appeared in a variety of publications, including "Rochester Magazine," HerRochester.com, "Rochester Democrat and Chronicle," "Rochester Woman Magazine" and "DaKa Magazine." I post fun and insightful lessons to MommyMusingsBlog.com and at Blogs.DemocratAndChronicle.com/Moms. And I'm working on a book inspired by these lessons and their resulting conundrums.

The uncertainty of weather and teenagers

blue mood2

Uncertainty is a fundamental characteristic of weather and teenagers.

This morning is sunny, dry, and windless. The clouds are playing hooky from the watery blue sky and the birds are singing. My weather app tells me that it is exactly 63 degrees Fahrenheit. With a touch of the screen I also know: the humidity is low, at 65 percent and the wind is moving at eight miles per hour, or what I might feel on my face when leisurely pedaling a bicycle. The forecast for today is wonderful: there is zero chance of rain and later this afternoon the temperature will rise to a balmy 81.

Unfortunately, there’s no app to predict the moods of teenagers.

The weather is fluid and ever changing, much like my son. Not only do I see physical changes in my 12-year-old, but emotional and social changes, too. In other words, my son can be soooo moody.

He’s sad one minute, happy the next. He’s angry with me – something I said, and storms off. Later, he returns, says that he’s sorry. His emotional disturbances are like the waxing and waning of the moon; the ebb and flow of the tide. I fear that I’m ill-prepared for the wave of moods that lie ahead. At times I’m stunned trying to figure out what to say to my son that won’t drive him further away. Other times, I wait for my 4’9″ hurricane to weaken to a “Category 1.” Eventually, the storm blows over and everyone is happy again.

Like a blustery day, my son’s anger and sadness makes me feel uncomfortable.

When he was a baby there was a night or two (probably more than I can remember) that he cried and cried, despite every comfort I gave him. I wanted to make him feel better and couldn’t. There was no escape from the endless colicky, croupy nights. Eventually, however, those nights became fewer and I relied less on Dr. Spock and whiskey (for me, not the baby!). As James grew, other unpredictable things took the place of one discomfort after another: ear infections, pinkeye, bronchitis, Fifth disease, scrapes, sprains, worry, embarrassment, and more. Sickness, injury, hardship, and mood swings are the unpredictable encounters of growing up.

How long does the moody climate of teenagers last?

I had an “Aha!” moment after reading a line by author Katrina Kenison in her book The Gift of An Ordinary Day.  “Adolescence is a mutinous confusing time when everyone’s trying to get off the boat.”  As a mom, I know I’m going to feel discomfort, stuck, and unhappy with my teenager and want to leap out of the boat. I won’t know how long the ride will last, but I have two choices: Resist or lean into uncertainty.

I’m beginning to understand that if I resist change, I only invite more tears and frustration. But if I lean in and let uncertainty flow through me, I just might be able to navigate the weather and my son.

“The future is no more uncertain than the present.” – Walt Whitman

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. You can also post a comment on my blog or Facebook.

How to let go of your attachments

Let go

Can you let go of your attachments? Can you let go of the emotional dependence you place on your identity, things, or people? It’s not easy.

Here’s a little exercise I picked up from Awakened Mind: One-Minute Wake Up Calls to a Bold and Mindful Life hat helps when I find myself too wrapped up in some thing, or someone. Watching my son’s soccer game last night helped put my attachment to a situation in perspective. His team was getting crushed and I was squirming in my seat. There was chaos on the field; another goal scored. The team was going to lose. So what?  So what if they were losing?  I’m not a player on the team. Let go, I thought. Let go of my attachment to losing.

I made a fist with my right hand and in it I put that thought, that attachment to winning a losing game. I inhaled deeply. When I exhaled, I opened my fist and let go of my attachment. I felt much better and could enjoy the rest of the game by being aware and present. An observer on the sidelines, in the right place, with the right people at the right time. Nothing more. Nothing less.

The same thing happens with my writing. I pour my heart and soul into my work, and then I choke on the details. I worry about mistakes, urgency, and deadlines. But I’m focusing on the wrong things. I realize that I need to let go, have a little faith in myself, and be present.

The next time you’r faced with anxiety, worry, fear, anger, frustration, or anything depleting your emotional reserves, try this little ritual to rid yourself of your attachments.

1) Think of every little worry, fear, or frustration that weighs you down, or that’s burdensome to you at this moment. It could be the mulch pile in your driveway, or your son heading to college in six weeks, or hurtful words someone said to you.

2) Make a fist with your hand and place all of your thoughts into it.

3) Breathe in. Breathe out.

4) Open your palm and symbolically let it all go.

Feel better? How do you let go of your attachments?

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. You can also share a comment on this post or Facebook.

World Cup 2014 Frenzy

world cup2

The frenzy of World Cup soccer was evident yesterday – June 12 – at my house. My twelve-year-old has been gearing up for weeks to get into the spirit of the World Cup, arguably the largest sporting event in the world. He’s been playing FIFA World Cup 2014 on Xbox since May, studying the groups and teams, filling out FIFA World Cup Brazil soccer bracket pool sheets (over and over again as he changes his mind), reading articles and listening to reports about the World Cup.

Because I have a walking soccer encyclopedia who’s usually willing to answer my silly World Cup questions, albeit with an occasional eye roll, I know a little bit more than the average mom. However, I ran across a list of 10 things non-soccer fans need to know about the World Cup that I found helpful. Interestingly, Google is tracking the questions that people in all 32 competing nations have been asking ahead of their opening matches, and some are downright silly, especially one from the United States: What does FC mean in soccer? (It stands for Football Club, duh)

While my husband, James, and James’ friend were glued to the TV yesterday, our friends in Spain were also watching. More than 30 texts flitted over the Atlantic on What’sApp during the 90 plus minute game. Comments ranged from “look at his haircut” to “good to know some players would do well on the swim team.”  For the next 30 days we’ll be watching, playing, shouting, singing, and talking about the beautiful game.

Check out these videos for World Cup fun.

What are you watching?

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. You can also post a comment on my blog or Facebook.