I am not the most punctual person. I usually sleep until the last minute, schedule things too closely together, and cram in more than what is feasible in a given time period. I can admit it. Throw in the variables that come with wrangling two small children in the process and well – it doesn’t get any easier to stay on schedule or be on time.
Most of the time this results in unnecessary stress on myself that often comes out in the way I talk to my children in these moments. Rushing them, telling them to hurry or we’re going to be late, denying that last minute request for a snack or pushing off some other request saying we can do that later or after. The worst is when the words “I don’t have time for this” come out of my mouth. It never feels good to say and it didn’t hit me until I heard my husband say it – how it might actually be interpreted by little ears.
“I don’t have time for this” probably sounds a lot like “I don’t have time for you”. I don’t have time to help you, I don’t have time to listen to you, I don’t care that you are having trouble deciding which door to use to get into the car. Ouch.
Perhaps I’m overthinking things. However, if there is a possibility that this phrase and the impatient tone could be interpreted this way, I have to fix it.
A family friend of ours has said to me more than one time “Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.” The little problems we have now are – I don’t know what door to climb in, I need to walk around the whole car, I want to do it by myself, I can’t get my shoes on, I want a snack or a drink or different toy. Their problems will get bigger and I never want them to feel like we’re not there to listen, to help and to encourage them. We need to pause from our own rat race and be what they need us to be in that moment – not later not after.
Love is patient. Love is patient. Love is patient. I have never met a child that didn’t test their parent’s patience at some time or another. My kids are on their own schedule with their own priorities. Some days are harder than others and we are all human but I know that if I am not stressed, if I am not in a hurry I will certainly have a higher threshold of patience.
Have you ever said this to your kids or anyone else? I think “I don’t have time” is usually code for another underlying reason. Something is not a priority, less important than what you choose to do, or maybe you just don’t want to do it. I want my kids to hear “You are a priority, you are important, and I want to help you.”
I ask myself “What would be so bad about being 10 minutes early?”. Nothing. I can’t think of anything. So I will be challenging myself to move everything up 10 minutes. To schedule activities with more of a time buffer and if we end up in a crunch despite my best efforts, to prioritize my relationship with my kids over the 3 extra minutes we will be behind.