sometimes parenting can make you feel just a little crazy


Time can be the enemy when you have kids, mostly either going too fast or too slowly.  On the rare occasions when it goes as it should, you gain a false confidence that you have actually mastered it.  Then time laughs in your face and you realize it was only a short-lived dream.  Aside from the larger scale moments like "It's as if we just brought him home from the hospital yesterday and already he's going to preschool," there are the smaller day-to-day time warps. Examples of time moving too fast

the period of total silence as they eat their favorite lunch


when you put the television on for them so you can have just a few minutes to yourself and it turns into three hours and then you feel guilty for being a bad parent

Examples of time moving too slowly

dinner when they don't want to eat it even though it was their favorite last week

that last 15 minutes before naptime

when it's only 1 pm and you've already started counting down the hours until your spouse comes home

Next, add into the mix a child's uncanny ability to do the precise opposite of what is called for.

"Put your shoes on NOW!  We have to go!  We're going to be late.  This is not the time to pretend you are a slug!"

"Why are you in such a rush?  There's no need to throw a tantrum because you can't zip your jacket.  Just calm down and take your time.  TAKE YOUR TIME!"

Why didn't you go potty when I told you to ten minutes ago?!"

"Come on, finish eating.  Hurry up.  We have to go!

"Well, you wouldn't have gagged if you didn't shove all that food in your mouth at once.  Honestly, I don't know why you can't eat calmly one bite at a time."

No, time is definitely not a parent's friend, but there are ways of managing it to maintain your sanity.  I've developed a few strategies of my own, like calling out warning times to prepare the kids for leaving the house.  "Ten minutes and then we have to go."  "Alright kids, five minutes before we have to put shoes on."  "Two more minutes!"  It doesn't always work, but frequently enough that it's become part of the routine.  Sometimes I assess the situation and make a ploy for what I think will work.  For instance, they might be stalling when it's time for bed.  "Who's going to be first up the stairs?"  Their competitive compulsions often override their desire to avoid going to sleep.  Except when it doesn't, but it's at least worth a shot.  Face it, when you're a parent there isn't much you won't try.

The only real advice worth following is to do your best to soak in as much of any time you have with your kids as possible because there will come a day when you blink and years really will have gone by.  When it comes to time with your children it's not just how much of it you have, but what you do with it.  We don't have to be perfect parents, just present ones.