It’s amazing what a few shelves will do | Living with Gleigh

The one lesson I've learned as a parent is not to take my kids' moods personally. I watch them carefully, because I think teen depression is one of the scariest emotional states for a parent to deal with, but I know it's not about me.

  • Saturday, November 21, 2015 5:22pm
  • Life

The one lesson I’ve learned as a parent is not to take my kids’ moods personally. I watch them carefully, because I think teen depression is one of the scariest emotional states for a parent to deal with, but I know it’s not about me.

However, something I’ve said or done may trigger an icy mood. Like the Sunday after Halloween, during my youngest daughter’s candy-induced sugar crash, when I told her that yes, she had to go to school on Monday. She felt overwhelmed because we’d torn apart a corner of her room after her friends left on Sunday morning from their Halloween party. She was unable to mentally deal with the room, plus she had homework to finish for a Monday morning class.

Someone had to be the voice of reason and it’s usually me. Kids need to understand our jobs come first and we fit the rest of our tasks in as we have time; their job is school. For me, it was better to have her at school in a foul mood than be at home, not getting anything done because she was in a foul mood, then watch it snowball with missed school work.

When the kids got home from school, my youngest had a headache she claims was caused by dehydration, which it partly may have been, but I’m sure sugar withdrawal also contributed. I had a nice, healthy dinner ready for them and she was in a better mood at the table. I asked about her icy mood that morning and she told me she had hoped I’d bring it up and let her stay home.

I’m her mother. I know those times when she truly needs a mental break from school. Monday she was just being lazy and even though her statement “I just didn’t want to go to school” was partially so she could work on settling her bedroom, I was pretty sure she’d have slept off her sugar hangover instead.

However, I had noticed she’d been in a melancholy mood of late. I realized last week she hadn’t really taken ownership of her new room since she and her friend moved in there in July. I felt bad for her, because I know I feel paralyzed to accomplish anything when my space is in chaos. We tore apart that corner of the room so she could resolve those issues.

Again, being the voice of reason, I talked her into letting go of her beloved desk. It worked great in her little, cozy bedroom. But in the larger bonus room she now shares with our adopted middle daughter, it just took up space that would be better suited for storage. So we moved the desk out and bought three new shelves.

It was kind of an amazing phenomenon. As the room got neater, my daughter’s mood got lighter. I checked on her progress every so often to see the transformation; not just in the room, but also in my daughter. I was in my bedroom when I heard her tinkling of laughter in the hallway.

Although she’s not been a Sad Sack since July when they moved in to the room, I realized I hadn’t heard the relaxation in her voice for many weeks; maybe since school started. That was the giggle of a girl who felt like she was finally settled and in control with full ownership of her space.

It’s amazing what a few shelves will do.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. You can read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com, on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.”or follow her on Twitter @livewithgleigh. Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Lifestyles section.

More in Life

Library’s art and writing contest returns to Pierce County | Pierce County Library System

Pierce County teens are encouraged to express themselves through writing, painting, drawing and more for the annual Our Own Expressions competition, hosted by the Pierce County Library System.

‘School of Awake’ offers advice to adolescent girls

Twinkle, twinkle. For as long as you can remember, you’ve known how… Continue reading

Mental health first aid training in Enumclaw | The Summit

Friday, January 19 at 7 p.m., Dr. Michelle Bengtson will kick off the mental health-themed weekend by speaking on Hope for Depression: The World’s Greatest Epidemic. Dr. Bengtson is the author of the award winning “Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression.”

Print 3-D creations at Pierce County Library System

Bring a ready-to-print file and watch the magic of 3-D printing bring the file to life at Pierce County Library System’s 3-D Print Shop. The free print shop sessions are offered January through March at Pierce County Libraries, giving people the opportunity to use the 3-D printers to create items, get quick design lessons, and learn the 3-D printing process.

The past is the past, a review of ‘Robicheaux’

You don’t want to talk about it. You’ve been through rough times,… Continue reading

What would MLK do? A review on ‘Dear Martin’

What if your entire future was mapped out for you? All you’d… Continue reading

Santa Patrol ready to roll in Enumclaw, Buckley

With the holiday season in full swing, fire departments are preparing for their annual Santa Patrols that spread cheer throughout Enumclaw and Buckley.

Blaine Larsen returns home for Dec. 2 concert

Blaine Larsen doesn’t perform much these days, instead spending his waking hours pursuing a higher calling.

Get your fill of winter activities on Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier’s landscape undergoes a dramatic transformation in winter.

Most Read