Monday, January 13, 2014

Time Is Not All Measured in Equal Amounts

Today I had an epic fail in the parenting department, and it was a good reminder about priorities. Yehuda has been working for weeks on a science project with a friend and today he needed to bring in the large display board. He asked me if I would drive him to school so it wouldn’t get messed up on the bus.

This isn't actually his project (who had time to photograph it when I was in a tizzy?) but it's a similar topic

And I knew that, of course, the answer was “yes”. But I wanted it to be “no” for so many reasons. “Come on,” I tried to reason with him. “Can’t you just sit at the front of the bus? The very back of the bus? Can’t you put it on your side like this or put it like this?”

And on and on I went, realizing how ridiculous I sounded and that I should just take the poor boy to school. So I agreed to take him, and then once I was taking him I might as well just take his siblings who go to school with him as well. And there went getting to work on time, which means not coming home on time, which means that something will have to give. And that “something” comes from a long list of must-do activities like buying milk and bread for tomorrow, squeezing in a short exercise, breathing, starting dinner, folding laundry, straightening up the house or some other little item.

And then little mister three year old didn’t want to get out of bed (my bed, that is). So I had to wake him and run around the house after him, begging him to please get dressed so that we could just…get….out…of…the…house…..already.

And once that was done and I was up the hill with the kids, the nursery school wasn’t open in time so I left Amichai to watch Yakir for a few minutes while I drove Zeli to his school. And when I returned to retrieve Amichai (assuming Yakir had already been deposited in school) Yakir didn’t want to go to school. Because who wants to go to school when your big brother is playing basketball outside with you? Dear lord. So that turned into a ten minute pick him up and carry him inside and figure out some creative way to get him to stop crying when he usually goes into school without even waving.

I used my incredible artistic talent and drew him something like this. It worked! And I was off.....

And now I was even later to work….and even more annoyed.

And it was finally time to gather the boys up and bring them to Efrat to their school and now I was really frazzled. And the kids could see it.

But, as I started driving them, I realized that Yehuda hadn’t done anything wrong. I wasn’t taking him to school because he was in trouble, or I had to speak with a teacher, or he had forgotten his lunch or anything else that could have been construed as some fault. I was taking the poor kid to school because he had worked really hard on a science project and wanted to make sure it didn’t get ruined.

Geez, Romi. Get over yourself. And so I tried to snap out of it and give him praise for a job well done, but I’d already shown my frustration. And it was out there.

And I spent the day feeling bad that I was frustrated this morning with a kid who just wanted an unsquished science project for the science fair.

And really, do those 15, or maybe 30, extra minutes at work make or break my day? But the messages I convey to the kids, and the 15 extra minutes that I can give to them actually DO make or break their day.

But when the rat race is on and the list of to-do items is piling up and it’s only 7:15 on Monday morning, it’s so very hard to remember what is important, and what just isn’t.

And I’ve now added to that day feeling badly that I gave Yehuda the impression that I was annoyed with his needs, and feeling badly that I didn’t show more appreciation for the work that he did.

And those feelings are far worse than any to-do list, no matter how long or how detailed it might be.

So I will certainly be at that science fair on Wednesday, even if it’s smack in the middle of my work day.

And I will hopefully, hopefully remember next time that the morning (or evening) stress gets to me that no amount of stress feels as bad as making the kids feel bad.

And that time is not all measured in equal amounts.

Lesson learned on the hectic road of motherhood.


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