“I don’t wannnna!” is the cry I hear from my inner toddler quite often these days. She’s exhausted, cranky, didn’t get her nap, is running on empty, and doesn’t want to do whatever it is that she needs to do next. (Sound familiar?)

Last Monday, she didn’t want to get out of bed, and as a result I was very late leaving the house to teach my 8:30 Intermediate class. From the living room came David’s clear voice — gentle, but quite firm — “Sweetheart, it’s 8:05.”

I later shared in class that David’s brilliant presence in that moment was like that of “a benevolent grandparent”. He has not let me forget this. No man ever wants to hear his girlfriend compare him to a grandparent, I suppose, benevolent or no (LOL), but it was brilliant, and exactly what I needed.

I’m guessing that a lot of our inner toddlers have been present of late. We’re exhausted, fed up and scared. The world feels like it’s falling apart, and nothing makes sense. What we need at times like these are our inner benevolent grandparents — the gentle-but-firm, unconditionally-loving parts of ourselves that will not let us off the hook. We need our kind grandmas and grandpas. Because despite the insanity of the world and our over-taxed nervous systems, there are still things we need to do. We still need to show up at work, to show up for our families and for our commitments; to take care of ourselves, our health, and those we love.

If your inner toddler shows up resisting and shaking her fists, the solution is not to create more resistance. She doesn’t need shaming, judging or criticizing. However, the solution is not to let her give up, either. She can’t sit in front of the television all day eating ice cream (although a little treat now and again isn’t a bad thing). She still needs to take her nap, do her chores, eat her vegetables, and get some exercise. We must each find a gentle but firm way to encourage ourselves to continue on. Because that is what true unconditional love looks like. And fight it as we may sometimes, it’s exactly what we need.

Wishing you and yours lots of unconditional love and encouragement today,