Rush hour

One thing** I’m concerned about in my return to work in a week is rushing. Rushing the jman too much. He senses “going out the door kerfuffle” like a bloodhound, and then it’s toddler lockdown. Arms wrapped around the knees, cries of “up. Up”. Endless delaying tactics like “book? More book?” And “milk?”. He also invariably craps his pants and or throws food onto himself or something white in his vicinity.

Rushing is something we are good at avoiding in our maternity leave bubble lifestyle. We have flexible bedtimes, flexible meal times, flexible nap times, flexible feed times. And he gets a lot of what he needs: my time. My dedicated, devoted, one on one time.

This is about to change.

Now luckily, my job is pretty flexible. I mean, there’s nothing quite like being late for work when there’s 200 people sitting in a lecture theatre waiting for you. I’ll admit, that’s special. But my hours at least this semester (and omg there’s a whole other post to come on those hours. Return to work sucks balls), my hours are civilised. Not early starts….my earliest is 10am.

But.

Rushing is something I’ve been thinking about.

One thing I am absolutely committed to is Jman time. I read about this in an interesting book Peaceful Parent happy kids : how to stop yelling and start connecting, and the basic idea is that most kiddie problems come down to connection. Re-establish that parental connection and the problem sorts itself out.

Jman time involves me, soon after we walk in the door, setting a timer for 15-20 min, putting down the phone / ipad / laptop / tv remote and just being down on the floor with jman. Following his lead in play. No putting away the washing up, no hanging washing, no I’ll just chop these things for dinner and make a cup of tea. It is hard to do. It is hard not to multitask in that 20 min. But it’s parental gold.

Where else can things go wrong?

The activity of saying no
Well, I think I need to be better at saying no. At ensuring there is free from schedules time on weekends for us as a family. And as he grows, limiting formal activities. Yes, sport and learning to swim and whatever else are important. But too much ferrying around, too much “we need to leave by 4pm” and it’s not really for my child’s benefit anymore, and I’m kidding myself if I think it is. Yes, boys need to burn off that energy, but it isn’t only formal activities that achieve this.

Some of the time suckers in our life, well, they’re just clutter like that pile of mail on the dining room table. Cluttered time sucks.

the fear of stopping still

I think sometimes mums do too much as a compensating strategy. There’s a few things I want to remind myself about this:

My response to depression was to over schedule my time. If I just kept busy enough, I wouldn’t fall in a screaming heap.

I still fell in a screaming heap.

Sometimes stopping is just what we need. Even if we feel the pull to do more, we can acknowledge the pull and not act on it.

fun rarely has an entry price or a timetable.

Formal activities may make me feel like I am doing something for my child, but in reality drawing crap in chalk on the driveway or turning on the sprinkler is just as effective.

gnocchi pesto. Toast. Noodles. Frozen peas. Steamed veg.

Food items that can be on that high chair tray within two minutes. Perfect? Nope. Jman happy? Yep. Especially if it’s gnocchi.

transitions

Remember that transition stage in child birth? That “oh my god I’m leaving to go to the pub why is it so HOT IN HERE GIVE ME THE ICE get the ice away from me I hate you” stage of labour? It’s bloody difficult.

Transitions are tough for toddlers too. So my job, of a morning, is not to get things done, but to ease transitions. From asleep to awake, pj’s to dressed, hungry to breakfasted, playing to happy to leave. Smooth the transitions. Like in labour, a transition is tough when you don’t know what coming, will it be better or worse, and how long will it take? Ease the transition for toddler.

My last note to perfectionist self on rushing is the oldie but a goodie if in doubt, lower your standards. Housework, ironing, meals, toddler skills, perfectionist tendencies at work, lower the standards.

So there’s my thoughts on rushing for the weeks ahead. I think it’s important to stop and reflect on these things and have a plan for the harder times in the week, to have a parenting vision when you can get your chin above the tide of toddlerhood.

** one thing I’m concerned about. Ha! Try 50,0000 things. Le sigh.

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