Being a mother is like being enrolled in a never ending online course. The lessons just keep loading up; and just when you feel like you have figured one chapter out, there is a sub chapter waiting. In this never ending classroom, I keep learning and relearning as I go. One main lesson is that any plans I make for the day should always be tentative. I am learning that while I make my own plans, my toddler and infant will have their own ideas of how the day should go.
For some of us, who are task oriented and pride ourselves in how many things we can accomplish in one day, this can come as a rude shock. It can take some adjusting to and it’s easy to get frustrated. On those days when there is a long list of things to do, those are the days infants and toddlers love to stop playing by the rules. They are the days when a two year old will refuse to get dressed, refuse to get in the stroller or the car, throw the biggest tantrums that leave you wanting to pull your hair out, and have you question everything you know about being a parent. It’s on those days that we find ourselves trying to ‘win’. We want things to go our way, and so we stay stubborn and insistent. What I have learned is that this attitude gets me no where. All that does is cause a lot of frustration all around. These are not the kind of memories I want to build with my children, and thus have decided that its easier to make realistic plans than force unrealistic ones.
So every morning I wake up, I have a plan, but its always tentative. Instead of dictating what we are doing for the day, I involve my son. I try to explain that there are things we must do, but along the way, he can pick which park we stop at, or whether he rides his bike, scooter or just walks. There are days when this works like magic. Other days, we never make it beyond the park, and I have to be okay with this. On days that I have things that I must accomplish, I make sure that I either have help with the kids, or they are under someone else’s care. Of course there are days when I have to insist on a strict schedule, such as when we have to catch a flight or make it to a doctors appointment but these instances are far and few in between.
Being flexible has made me a more relaxed person. I also find that these random moments with the kids, when we spend a bit more time picking stones on our walks, or balancing on a slab of concrete five times before moving on, have actually become quite pleasant. I pause and watch my son explore instead of rushing him to the next task. I listen to him talk about what he sees and its so rewarding to see his happy little face enjoy the simple things. Sure, my list is always there waiting for me but I have learned to prioritize. Not everything needs to be done right this moment, and for now, my children need me.