Today marks the first day of the kids’ spring break. Our town seems equally divided between families taking trips abroad and those “staycationing.” Since we fall into the latter category, and since my wife and I need to work this week, the kids are cued up for heavy sports and activity programming at the local JCC where they once attended daycare/nursery school/pre-K.
When I roused the “chickens” this morning, they both said it felt like they were going to summer camp. Yet, for me, with a thousand files left to deal with for a large client, the morning felt quite the opposite: rushed, stressful, and annoying having to yell at the one finicky about his socks to bring them downstairs and the other one languidly brushing her hair while gazing at herself in the mirror to move her tuchus.
I realize that the stress associated with getting them to their destination on time is on me, not them. The kids couldn’t care less when they get there, just as long as they make it for swimming and gym later in the day. So why do I get so wound up trying to get them out the door? Is it because I’m upset with them for moving slowly? Not listening? Displaying a devil-may-care attitude? It definitely isn’t because I’m going to miss the start of a movie I really want to see, the Space Shuttle launch, an incredible Giants triple play, or Glenn Beck retiring from fearmongering.
I frequently fantasize about what would happen if we exhibited the same laissez faire attitude about scheduling/making events on time in front of the kids. Would they suddenly start to watch the clock, move more swiftly, and yell at us to get out of bed, brush our teeth, wash our faces, and put on our shoes? Would a 180-degree shift mess with their heads even more than we currently do (and will) by constantly rushing them along? Or, would ignoring the clock produce well-adjusted, happy, mellow, anxiety-free contributing members of society?
Shit! I’m late.