Even as a full-time mom without an outside job, my life sometimes feels like an endless relay race. Parenting is an incredible juggling challenge regardless of circumstance. There is such a rush rush rush element in our culture and in our lives. My point of stress has recently been running out of patience and grace as we leave the house late again. Noticing this consistent time of stress had me looking for solutions.
Settling into the hot water, I remembered a story my mom tells of my childhood. The morning after a parenting workshop, my mother sat down the next morning to relax and drink her cup of coffee without her usual nagging and prodding. My adolescent brother and I quickly realized it was our responsibility to get ourselves out the door and onto the bus on time. That was an incredibly simple lesson for my mother and me. Now a mother and in my hot bath, I recalled another lesson I never mastered as a teacher: let the children do more work than the adult. Kids learn by pitching in and taking responsibility. Our family's newest solution: child-centered lists.
My daughter Hannah now helps me write up a list of what she needs to accomplish before she can leave the house with us. Instead of her depending on my nagging to get her ready for her day, she focuses on checking things off her own list. She also enjoys making and checking off lists for her brother and me. This simple list has increased Hannah's independence and responsibility and seriously decreased my frantic stress.
Pack snack and jacket
Put away toys and clothes
Now I can settle into my sacred one hour alone to relax and contemplate my many blessings. Blessing number one: I am grateful for these beautiful strong children who keep me learning and growing each moment of the day.