“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” ~WILL ROGERS
The above is an obscure but interesting quote I came across recently on the Internet that struck a chord with me and how I interact with my children. Clearly I haven’t reached the point that Mr. Will Rogers’ alludes to where I need to FIND something to do. “Pack the diapers, warm the bottle, put that toy away..no we have to go…what, you need to pee?….hurry!!! We’re going to be late.” I seem to be in a constant rush with my children trying to GET somewhere all the time. School, play date, soccer practice, Gymboree, you name it I’m going there or rather ‘trying’ to get there on time!
I find it odd how prior to the birth of my children I was able to dress myself, put makeup on, brush my teeth, get on the road and always without a doubt arrive at my business appointments on time. Heck I even had time to spare to grab a cup of coffee….imagine that.
That being said, I’m not disturbed at my new found lack of time management but rather my constant pressure on my children to get ready and get going. I have come to the conclusion that less is more sometimes and that maybe, just maybe, missing an appointment or being late once in a while isn’t such a bad thing. How about I let my daughter finish making her watercolor picture of our family, even though she’ll be late for her dance class? Maybe my son would benefit more from playing in his sandbox a little longer than being rushed out the door for his Gymboree class.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not proposing that children’s lives should be filled with missed commitments and late arrivals. Structure and consistency are important foundations of young lives and to teach the ability to plan and control outcomes through action. I do however think that once in a while it is ok to choose a free form activity over a committed one. Not all the time but once in a while to take the stress off children and show then that life is not 100% about appointments and full days of planned activities, but also about just plain fun!
A few things I am going to do to make my life easier and relive stress on my children….
- Start getting ready earlier. Set a reasonable timeframe. If your kids are tired or not feeling well give extra time to get them ready. They will undoubtedly be slower than usual.
- Set expectations early so that the kids know what’s coming. “Sally, toys away in 10 minutes, we need to start getting ready”.
- Put jackets, shoes and snacks together the night before so it’s not a rush the day of.
- Have extra essentials in the car (water, diapers, wipes, clothes, snacks) just in case you forget something.
- Plan less activities – open up some white space.
With these tips and tricks at my disposal, I think I may be able to get a little time for myself and even pick up that long missed cup of coffee once in a while.