Joy & Parenting – Part III: Joy-Busters!

In Joy & Parenting – Part I & Part II, I wrote about an enlightening interview I recently heard with The Joyful Mother, Sigrid Kjeldsen, on the Great Parenting Show. As I mentioned in those posts, The Joyful Mother’s discussion of ways to bring more joy to parenting truly spoke to me.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about Joy-Busters, the insidious (formerly sub-conscious) ways I sabotage my own joy; strategies I employ to limit the amount of joy I feel, whether that joy comes through parenting or other activities. (My Joy-Busting skills used to be sub-conscious. Now they’re on the Internet. Progress?)

As a mom, my daughters watch me closely for signals of how to maneuver through the world. They mimic me in ways big and small, funny and endearing, encouraging and scary. I’m counting on the good stuff I model for them outweighing the crazy shit.  Given my tendency to Joy-Bust, I’ll let you know how that works out for us.

Here are my top three Joy-Busters. If you relate, I’d love to hear yours. If not, I’d love to hear how you manage to avoid my brand of crazy.

Joy-Buster #1:  Focusing on Outcomes

I’m writing this post for these reasons:

  • To keep my promise (In my last two posts, I promised Joy & Parenting – Part III )
  • To give myself the gift of joy today (I love to write. Easy joy for me.)
  • To cause all of you reading this to think I’m amazing and be blown away by my insight and genius (No, really.)

Oh, and also to inspire everyone in the world to follow my blog. That said, if everyone followed my blog, I’d find a way to quickly dissipate the joy I would feel. My head would likely explode.

So, everyone in the world, if you do not follow my blog, I’ll assume you’re doing me a favor by not overtaxing my delicate system. If you do, I’ll assume you’re hoping for a first-hand look at a head exploding from too much excitement. I’ll be sure to put the spectacle on YouTube for your edification.

Either way, relying on a specific outcome outside of myself to feel joy is Joy-Buster #1 for me. On the days I’m focused on how many Facebook followers my blog has/doesn’t instead of how much fun I had writing a post, I’m screwed. Not only is having expectations a set-up, it’s also a way to keep me closed off to the joy that is there … nothing less than my expectations will be good enough.

My Choice:  I want to model for my daughters the benefits of pursuing an activity that brings them joy just for the love of it, not for some arbitrary outcome. Today I choose to ignore my Facebook stats (or only peek at them with one eye). The immediate benefit:  My daughters get a happier mama today!  (I reserve the right to obsessively check my blog’s Facebook page stats tomorrow).

If Joy-Buster #1 isn’t efficient enough in killing joy, I can always fall back on:

Joy-Buster #2:  Attaching to Negatives

It would not be unusual for me to receive several loving, positive comments (about my writing, mothering, cooking, clothing, juggling, you name it) and instead choose to focus on the one slightly negative comment I hear. And by focus I mean obsess. No joy for me.

On a really good day, I have the rare ability to turn a positive comment into a negative. For example, “Your writing is so vulnerable,” in my head becomes “Are you crazy? You do realize this is on the Internet, right?” If only my joy-busting skills were marketable! Perhaps I could be a circus side-show …  

My Choice:  Today I’d like to practice attaching to positive comments, interactions, people, choices, etc. and let go of the rest. (As I only have another hour or so of consciousness left tonight, I’m feeling fairly good about my chances.)

 Joy-Buster #3:  Comparing & Pressuring

My good friend writes the wonderful, hilarious blog, Outlaw Mama. She’s brilliant and funny and insightful. She blogs daily, often many times a day. I do not. My writing process is slow and plodding. Hers appears effortless and magical. When I compare my process to hers, my heart gets small and Grinch-like. I want to pressure myself to hurry up and produce (“Go, go, write faster, damnit! Get to work!”) instead of accepting and enjoying my own pace. Comparing and pressuring myself suck all the joy out of writing for me. If I need a buzz-kill, I always can find lots of people who do things better, faster, more attractively. Such an efficient Joy-Buster, this one.

My choice:  If I must compare today, instead of comparing myself to others, I’d prefer to compare myself to myself. I wasn’t writing two months ago. I am now. Wow! I’m amazing! (Funny, when you roll your eyes like that you look just like my daughter!)

Those are my top three. There are more, but I’ll save them for another day. I’m turning over my Joy-Busting skills to you today for safekeeping. Please hold on to them for me for awhile. I’ll let you know when I want them back. Thanks. 

How do you sabotage yourself and medicate joy? Perhaps your ways are more subtle or creative? I’d love to hear!

P.S.  As my daughters grow and their responsibilities multiply, my wish is that they allow themselves the time and space to pursue the activities they love. I hope they choose joy. And let’s hope Joy-Busting isn’t contagious.

Joy & Parenting Tips – Part II

Rhys is a tenured Professor of Joy!

As promised in yesterday’s post, Joy & Parenting – Part I, I’m back with more highlights from the Great Parenting Show interview I heard recently featuring The Joyful Mother, Sigrid Kjeldsen. I really enjoyed Sigrid’s clarity, insights and loving suggestions. Here’s more of my take on the interview highlights. Coming soon:  Joy & Parenting – Part III:  Joy-Busting (Top Ways I Sabotage Joy).

Surrender to the Moment

The Joyful Mother talked about joy coming from “surrendering to the moment, any moment, and accepting it. As is.” This requires awareness. And breathing. I’m happy to report I have had some recent success with both.

The other night I set a boundary with Ava around my availability for our nightly reading time (a long-standing bedtime ritual). Ava pushed the boundary. Then ignored it completely. Shit, I thought, I’m going to have to keep this boundary and Ava’s not gonna be happy.

Truthfully, much of me wanted to ignore my boundary, keep the peace and keep a lid on any emotions she might have  about missing our treasured reading time. And yet, it’s better for both of us when I follow through (and when I take care of myself). I took a deep breath and went into her room to kiss her goodnight. At first she was incredulous that I wasn’t going to read to her. And then she was angry. Wish-we-didn’t-have-neighbors angry. She cycled through a number of emotions, some we as a species have yet to name.

Here’s the victory … I reminded myself all I had to do was lovingly detach, stay present and not try to fix her feelings. Being present meant I had to breathe, not something I practice regularly. I breathed. Deeply. Soon, Ava began breathing again. There we were breathing together, in the moment. Crazy, right?

Just as The Joyful Mother herself suggested during the interview, the change in my energy appeared to impact Ava’s energy. My goal in the moment was not to cut short my daughter’s anger (yeah, right!) and it wasn’t. But my experience was different. I didn’t take on her anger or try to shut her down. I just was. I asked if she wanted a hug. Not a chance. Not from me. Maybe from dad. More breathing. Progress!

To say this interaction left me joy-filled is a stretch. But I did feel more peaceful and connected to myself and my daughter. And that is joyous!

Model Forgiveness

I am often hard on myself and in turn, tend to be hard on other people, specifically my loved ones (a lucky bunch). I  rarely communicate my self-annoyance verbally to my daughters, but they certainly pick up on it. I don’t like making mistakes and I have to make a conscious effort to let go and forgive myself when I do.

The highlight of The Joyful Mother’s interview for me was when she suggested we model self-forgiveness for our children. While I’ve heard this concept before and am aware that not much joy can enter my heart when I’m berating myself for some mistake or another, I was in just the right place to really “hear” this idea from Sigrid.

And I got a chance to test drive The Joyful Mother’s advice last night:  I was anxiously finishing yesterday’s post so I could spend time with the girls during their bedtime routines. After I hit, “publish,” on the post, I started reading to Ava. We were just getting cozy with Harry Potter when I jumped up, yelled “shit” and ran to my computer, chastising myself out loud along the way. “I’m such an idiot. I spelled Sigrid’s name wrong in that post! OMG! I called her Ingrid! Shit!” I chose to urgently try to fix the mistake as my computer chose to crash. Trust me:  not an ounce of me could see the humor in this gaffe (actually I just realized it’s kind of funny as I wrote this). I was mortified (I’m dramatic that way).

Many, many minutes later, after I fixed the mistake and started breathing again, Ava and I resumed our nightly cuddle session. Sigrid’s words popped in my head and out of my mouth:  “Ava, I was really angry with myself earlier for making a mistake. I’m ready to forgive myself now.” Ava smiled and replied, “I’m happy for you, Mom. I’m also happy you’re my mom.” Genius!

And, Finally, Celebrate! 

What better way to welcome joy into my life than to focus on all the things I’m doing wrong as a parent. No? But how else will I fix all the mistakes I make as a mom? How will I ensure I don’t ruin my kids for life (if I haven’t already)? Apparently, according to The Joyful Mother, there’s a better way. She suggests we ask ourselves at the end of the day:  “What did I do well today?” and/or even better “What was I awesome at today?” Yes!

My good friend, Jackie, and I have tried on and off for years to help each other celebrate our victories. We go through phases where we call and leave each other messages touting what we did well that day. It’s lovely. And powerful. And harder to commit to than calling her and telling her what I f***ed-up over the past 24.

The only tweak I’d make to The Joyful Mother’s powerful suggestion is to share your list of awesomeness with a good friend or two, live or taped. It helps my joy sink in a little deeper when I share it with other people.

Jacqueline Green (the Great Parenting Show’s host) suggested we ask our kids the same question. Great idea! That’s an addition to our family’s already long bedtime routine that I’m willing to try. I can’t wait to find out what the girls have to say.

Girls … bedtime!

I’d love to hear your (and your kids’) responses to the question “What was I awesome at today?” in the comment section below. I’ll pass them on to the Great Parenting Show and The Joyful Mother!

Joy & Parenting: Part I

I can learn a lot from this joy teacher!

For the past several weeks, I’ve been enjoying listening to the Great Parenting Show. If you’re not familiar, the Great Parenting Show is a bi-weekly webcast of interviews with a variety of renowned parenting experts. The host, Jacqueline Green, is an educator specializing in perfectionism and parenting. (Given how long it took me to edit this post to my satisfaction, I could teach a course or two in perfectionism. Just sayin’).

I listened to a replay of an interview with Sigrid Kjeldsen, owner of The Joyful Mother and Stress Coach for the modern mom. While I’d heard of The Joyful Mother, I wasn’t familiar with Ms. Kjeldsen or her philosophy before the interview.

As is my custom, I was doing five other things while listening to the show. But when The Joyful Mother started talking about “monkey minds,” being present to all our feelings/our childrens’ feelings, surrendering to moments, and celebrating ourselves as mothers, she had my full attention (which is saying a lot cause I typically can’t muster much after a carb-happy lunch).

What an exciting surprise! Her approach to mothering is completely in tune with the way I want to parent my girls. The title of her talk was “Why Joy is Your Most Important Parenting Tool.” Yes! My parenting philosophy is that joy is right in front of me and my kids are my best teachers. This woman speaks my language! How happy is that?

While I, like many parents, aspire to enjoy my children, I’m not always willing and/or able to do so on a daily basis. Taking in and metabolizing joy (especially when it comes in the form of two pint-sized tornados wrecking havoc on my nice, orderly life!) is not my strong suit.

How much joy can I handle? Not as much as I’d like! Therefore, I was excited to hear The Joyful Mother’s suggestions for taking in more joy today. Here’s my take on one of the highlights of the interview. Stop by tomorrow for more!

Release Our “Monkey Minds”

As you may have gathered from reading this blog, I tend to spend an awful lot of time in my head, analyzing my interactions/reactions, making/checking off to-do lists, comparing myself to others, etc.  I’m particularly talented at making up stories about what other people are thinking or feeling. That the stories I make up in my head rarely (okay, never) have a basis in reality does little to dissuade my brain. For example, on any given day, I may tell myself I have no friends. Usually right after having spent time with one or more of them. Or I’ll decide that Mike must be mad at me as evidenced by his forgetting to call/email/text me. (Uhh, who’s angry? Who could have picked up the phone? Exactly. Me.).

Given my obsessive nature (yes, I’m aware of it), it is not an easy feat to quiet my brain. And I try. Truly. Meditation. Prayer. Calls with supportive friends. In my world, it takes a village to raise me, let alone my kids.

While all this chatter keeps me (and my loved ones) entertained, I’m aware that it also keeps me from experiencing life in the moment; keeps me from feeling the unbelievable amount of joy and connection that are right in front of me. I have an amazing life and a wonderful family. Focusing on negativity or other peoples’ reactions keeps me out of the moment and in my head. Keeps joy from reaching my heart.

Imagine my delight hearing Sigrid (may I call you Sigrid?) say that many parents suffer from this insidious busy brain syndrome. (Imagine us all in a room together, geez!). I’m grateful to know I’m not alone and also to know that awareness is part of the solution. The Joyful Mother suggests becoming aware of our “monkey minds” and consciously shifting our focus back to those around us. She advocates looking at our loved ones with a sense of curiousity and wonder. I want my kids to come home right now so I can try this! (Then I’ll want them to go right back to school, but that’s another story.)

So … stop back over the next few days to read more of this series on Joy & Parenting. Part II:  More Tips for Parenting with Joy & Part III:  Joy-Busting (I’m putting together a list of the top ways I sabotage my joy.) Perhaps you’ll relate …

Can you say am-biv-uh-luhnt?

Who wouldn’t want to spend time with this crew?

I’m telling on myself.

The story in my head is that I’m a committed, loving spouse who enjoys her husband and wants to spend time with him. Meaningful talks, spontaneous dates, uninterrupted time together – I tell myself I long for more loving connections with my husband.

Just not right now.

Maybe later. When I’ve finished this post. Or this book. Or maybe this bagel.

While I was writing this blog post today, my husband stopped home unexpectedly. I could see his car pull up through our kitchen window. My first reaction was joy! Yay, a surprise visit from my husband! What could be better?Unexpected time with my beloved without any children jockeying for our attention. Sounded like bliss. For a moment.

My husband rarely pops in from work unexpectedly. The last time he did, I assumed he’d lost his job. In the time it took for him to park and exit his car, I drafted a story in my head featuring our financial ruin and eventual homelessness. I expected him to emerge from his car with a box of belongings in his arms and a nearly undetectable droop (or possibly spring?) in his step. A logical assumption. Right?

Upon seeing his car this afternoon, my initial joy quickly (I’m talking split-second quickly) turned to annoyance. He’s going to mess up my plans! And I have important things to do, damn it!

Before he’d walked through the door, I’d decided he was going to want to talk, ask me stuff, find out how the girls’ field trip went this morning, blah/blah. Ugh, I thought to myself, I don’t have time for idle chitchat! Don’t f*** with my perfectly timed schedule. I have to pick up the girls from school in 30 minutes.

Then he came inside, announced that he was in a rush to get to a work meeting nearby. He didn’t have time to talk. Just to grab a folder he needed. And to pee.

Well, naturally, I was pissed. Why doesn’t he want to talk to me? Make time for me?

Don’t you wish I was your spouse? Sometimes my husband does.

Lucky for my hubby, I don’t limit my ambivalence only to him. I also have plenty of mothering ambivalence. Sometimes I miss my girls like crazy all day – right up until the moment they get home from school. Then, after a few minutes of joy and happy connection, I’m ready for them (or me) to be elsewhere. Ok, that feels too scary to admit. Does anyone in the entire mothering universe relate? Anyone reading this blog?

We’ve all heard that confession is good for the soul. Does anyone know if confession is also a cure for ambivalence? When I find out, I’ll let you know.

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Permission to Write Crap

This is a much-needed hug!

I just made an agreement with Ava (age 8):  we each will write four sentences on our individual projects tonight. Hers on her third grade homework assignment. Mine on this blog post.  Then we will call it a night.

You’ve just read my four sentences. Ava is still writing. I think I got the better end of this deal.

This agreement represents huge progress for me. Until recently (earlier this week), my go-to parenting tool has been to nag and pressure my daughter every night to get her homework done. In doing so I’ve created a monster – me. I’ve been told that my interactions with my daughter around “her” homework amount to my being “up her ass.” Apparently, being “up her ass” is not a formula for a good relationship with my daughter nor is it having the desired effect, creating a young person who takes responsibility for getting her homework done and enjoys the process.  Who knew?

For the record, I am not a procrastinator. I pride myself on being focused, diligent and somewhat militant in my ability to push myself to get things done. It’s the trait I hold onto with a death grip on those (far too often) days when I need to feel superior to my procrastination-prone husband. Arguably, pressuring myself works to get the bills paid on time and our household running somewhat smoothly. The problem is when it comes to doing the things that bring me joy (writing) and help me reach one of my goals (writing this parenting blog), I routinely find a slew of more necessary tasks to accomplish. Tonight for example. 

I had such high hopes for this evening. My plan was to sit down and pound out a kick-ass post for this blog. Unfortunately, I’d rather comb through my daughter Rhys’ weeks worth of hair tangles than write tonight. I feel wiggly. Wiggly translates to sitting down at my computer, writing the date, fixing the margins, searching for appetizer recipes on Pinterest, eating a cheese stick, clipping Rhys’ fingernails, writing and deleting one sentence before fixing the margins again.

I want to say f*** it for tonight. Instead, I start noticing Ava’s procrastination process. “Shit!” I think to myself, “She’s inherited the procrastination gene from my husband!” Did I mention I’m not a procrastinator?

As I was about to tell Ava to get to work, stop messing around and just get something/anything done (yes, I’ve worked hard over the years to hone this particularly encouraging coaching style), I realized she was following my lead, mirroring my discomfort and self-pressure. It was easier to see it in her tonight than in myself. Not to mention it’s much more satisfying to watch her spin her wheels and grow crabbier and crabbier than it is to focus on my own wheel spinning. I hate to fail. I know how to pressure myself and others. You could say I’m an expert at it.

Instead of pushing her tonight, I offered her a hug. We cuddled on the couch and talked about feeling wiggly and unfocused. I told Ava that I noticed she was struggling and it helped me notice I was struggling too. We decided some nights you just have to let go. But first we made our deal. Her only request:  I sit next to her while we wrote. We agreed whatever we wrote would be good enough for tonight; crappy writing encouraged.

If You’re Happy & You Know It …

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… Drag Your Feet:

Does anyone else find it hard to relax on vacation? If you read my last post about vacation prep Mama Needs a Hit, it won’t come as a surprise to hear that I have a hard time relaxing and easing into the rhythm of unfettered free time. I say unfettered but as any parent knows, vacationing with two pint-sized people is hardly the definition of carefree bliss. Our vacations are a lot like weekend family time at home (albeit with more sunscreen): fun family activities intermingled with standard-issue parenting/care-giving tasks. On vacation, we aim to spend more time slathering the girls with sunscreen than actually playing in the sun.

Somehow our attitudes and dispositions followed us to Florida (along with enough luggage to clothe a small nation). And for the first several days of our trip, I found it hard to relax. Not that I had expectations or anything? Moi?

While I thought I signed up for the Von Trapp family vacation (picture-perfect family cruising through Florida, singing our hearts out and casting loving glances at one another circa The Sound of Music), apparently I booked the Modern Family version (overpacked, clueless, loveable family bickering, crying and vomiting across Florida). Who do I talk to at Expedia about this?

…Have Fun, Damn It:

For the first few days of our trip, my need to control morphed from accomplishment mode to memory-making mode: “Family, it is time to make some memories! It’s 3 pm, people, time to have fun!”

I was scared to let go of orchestrating our “good time,” fearing we’d sit in our condo rental for a week staring at each other (our apathy interspersed with bickering, of course). Once I let go, I experienced my favorite Florida memory so far: watching in awe arm-in-arm with Ava as a flock of pelicans dive bombed for fish and a mom and baby dolphin danced in the ocean off Naples Pier. Pure bliss.

… Take a Nap:

This trip has shown me it’s hard for me to be a fun, engaged mom for more than ten minutes at a time without a nap. Ava brought along her massive paper doll collection (it was that or the entire American Girl doll contingent). And while Southwest Airlines is generous in its baggage allowances, it did balk at giving Samantha and Kanani (Ava’s dolls) their own seats and carryon bags.

When we’ve played with the paper dolls on this trip, for some reason I’ve been assigned the dog character. After pretending to pee on everything in sight (a YouTube-quality giggle maker with my girls), my role has been to follow Ava and Rhys’ characters around and not say anything. Ever. Not exactly the Tony-award winning role my agent usually negotiates for me.

As any dog knows, when in doubt, take a nap. And nap I have. Apparently, I’m getting the hang of this relaxing thing. I hope to find some balance between constant motion and comatose before it’s time to go home.

… Avoid Your Husband:

In addition to my expectations of familial bliss on this vacation, I also imagined romance, intimacy and connection with Mike beyond our wildest dreams. Months of missed connections at home were supposed to magically transform into lustful, heartfelt interactions on the Paradise Coast. Yet, I’m finding it hard to connect with him. I’d like to blame the kids (an easy out), but really, it’s just hard for me to connect. Period. My preferred state is fight or avoid. Apparently, the saying ringing intermittently in my head “would you rather be right or be happy?” doesn’t apply to me. Right? Happy?

Mike told me the other day that he didn’t find my pissy self much fun to be with. Harrumph. And ouch. (And please. We all know my pissy self is nothing if not fun!). After first getting defensive, I asked him to tell me what he was feeling rather than what he was thinking. He owned that he was feeling lonely. Hey, me too!!! Lonely! That’s what this feeling is! A hug, a kiss, a breakthrough. We’ve got this connection thing down! Check “connect with Mike” off my vacation to do list! Seriously, while our connections are messy and imperfect, I’m grateful we know how to come back together.

… Enjoy the Moment:

I’ve not felt like blogging all week, yet I’ve had a hard time letting myself off the hook. I should be chronicling this week for my blog, I’ve told myself. A real writer would blog while on vacation, I’ve admonished myself. Shut the fuck up, I’ve answered myself. And when I finally let go and decided not to blog until I got back home, I woke up this morning happy, relaxed and itching to write. Go figure! And then, go home.

What do you think? Fill in the blank: If you’re happy and you know it, __________________.

Mama Needs a Hit

This past week was a rough one for getting Ava out of the house and to school on time. Ava tends to dawdle in the mornings and wait to the last minute to get her teeth brushed, shoes on and backpack ready in preparation for her jam-packed days at school. She loves to read in the mornings and can often be found reading Harry Potter while brushing her teeth and jamming homework in her backpack as the clock ticks ever closer to 8 am. Multi-tasking at its finest.

I typically spend my mornings alternately nagging, rushing and pressuring her to get moving or declaring to myself that I’m not going to say a word to hurry her along, a promise I am able to keep on average for 90 seconds (I’m working on beating my all-time record of 5 minutes). We live ten minutes from the girls’ school, a blessing in many ways and also an odd deterrent to being on time.

I’m a clockwatcher. And I’m convinced my hypervigilance with time keeps Ava from feeling any anxiety. Why would she? She has a mom who willingly and expertly holds any/all anxiety around her being late to school. Where can I get one of those for myself?!

Like all good crazy people, I’m vigilant about Ava’s promptness yet at times fairly lackadaisical about my own. I hate being late, but I hate being rushed even more. Unless I’m the one rushing myself. I often can be found urgently getting just one more terribly important task done before I walk out the door. These are life and death tasks, people! That towel on the kitchen counter isn’t going to just fold itself, now will it? Exactly.

Perhaps I don’t want to leave my house. Ever. More likely I’m an adrenaline junkie. I get a hit seeing how much I can do in the least amount of time. And like any good junkie, I find ways to justify my need for adrenaline. Waiting to the last possible minute before rushing to get somewhere on time is the surest way to deliver the fix I think I need.

I’m aware of all the many time-management tips that would make my life more manageable. On many days, I’m even willing to leave extra time to allow for the unexpected. I’m often rewarded with a peaceful, calm journey. But I can only keep that up for so long before I start longing for the hit I get from rushing. Mama needs a fix!

The other day, I was packing to get our family ready for our upcoming vacation to Florida. Perhaps you’re familiar with my particular brand of vacation prep? Before we leave, the entire house has to be decluttered, all the laundry that’s been hogging our dining room table for days has to be put away and every project I’ve not had time to complete over the past ten years must be finished. Only then can I feel ready to relax and enjoy. You’ll find me filing some ever-so-important electric bills from 2011 tomorrow – a now urgent project I couldn’t have cared less about last month. And the scrapbooks! Shit, I forgot about the scrapbooks I’ve been meaning to create for the girls. Since they were born. Better get to Michaels craft store tomorrow for some supplies before our trip on Sunday!

I kept looking at the clock as it edged closer to 3 pm, pick-up time at school. I kept packing. Now mind you, I had been working on these various important projects all day, hadn’t showered after a much-needed workout, choosing instead to change out of my workout clothes and back into my pjs until I could take a shower, something I was planning to do between repotting the plants and cleaning out the refrigerator.

While I”m willing to drop off the girls at school in the morning in my leopard print fuzzy pjs and a baseball cap, I’m not quite secure enough to pick them up after school in this same get-up. Only because pick-up requires me to haul my ass out of the car and walk through the school. But there I was, still packing. I knew perfectly well I was pushing the time boundaries and it would be hard to get to school on time to pick up the girls. So now, in a panic, I started rushing … ahhh, sweet adrenaline.

This morning I apologized to Ava. Perhaps it’s time for me to look at my own relationship with time before I try to teach her how to manage hers. I’ll get to that soon. Right after I finish organizing all our digital photos and cleaning the year-old crumbs out of our car’s backseat crevices. We have a vacation to get to, people.