Someone’s got to be the grown-up here

There’s a parenting thing I did not anticipate. One that is hard on my introvert soul. Namely, that having kids means living in a house with more people, and those people are not great at managing their feelings.

The emotional expression of kids and teenagers is volatile, it’s unpredictable, it is in both magnitude and type not what I am expecting as a response to events. And it’s my job to be the person in the interaction who recognizes the overreaction, who understands what the actual problem is, who addresses the actual problem, who listens with empathy, who sets clear boundaries, who models problem-solving behavior, who responds honestly and kindly at the same time.

And to then do it all over again six minutes later.

By the end of the day, I want to never speak to another human again. Especially ones that have any feelings whatsoever.

But it’s now Friday, the start of my work-week, and I get to leave the house and go talk to airplanes for the evening. Where at least we all pretend that no-one has any feelings about anything, and if a pilot gets pissy with me about the Chicago flow control, well, she can just slow down anyway whether she likes it or not.

There’s a relief in being a dictator at my job.

I tell my coworkers all the time that there’s no feelings in air traffic control.

Thank goodness.

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