Survival Tip: Taking a Breath and Slowing Down

Rushing Allie out the door this morning to get to school wasn’t going to happen. I tried a million different tactics and nothing was working. This is the moment where I hate being a single parent. Can’t pass the buck. Can’t give up in defeat and pass them off to someone else less frustrated.

Allie is crying. They won’t get dressed. They don’t want to go to school. I’ve lost it. I can’t do this. I just can’t. So I yelled at them. Allie tells me, “ yelling isn’t nice and it’s your fault I’m going slow. The yelling is making me go slow.” I feel like a bad parent. I dislike myself and I can’t do this

I’m convinced 4 year olds can’t be scheduled. They don’t understand time. Their wonderful moments of sheer exhilaration at the world can’t be pinned down by clocks, and appointments, and life’s cruddines. Thank goodness for this. It’s one of their best and worst qualities.

So I take a breath. I decide we’re not getting to school on time. It’s not happening. I’m stressed out. Allie is stressed out.

I take another breath. Allie is drawing a picture and cutting out circles. It’s very important to them. Very, very, very important.

I breathe again. I sit down with them and I draw circles and I cut out circles. It’s 8:30. We should have left 20 minutes ago.

“Hey buddy, I’m sorry I yelled at you. Grown-ups make mistakes too and you are right, yelling is not nice.”

Allie looks at me completely calmly. Tears drying on their face the only evidence that 2 minutes ago all hell was breaking loose.

“ What’s going on? What’s the plan? We need to get to school. “

Allie says, “ Okay let’s go to school.”

Just like that. They put the circles in a very neat pile. Places the scissors on top. Puts their clothes on. I drink my coffee (made an hour ago and until now not sampled). And we’re out the door.

We’re late. I hate being late. But today, I don’t care.