When I became a parent my mom would tell me, “when you figure out their schedule that’s when they’ll move on to a new one”. It’s true! Whether it’s nap time, feeding time, scheduled learning time, or any other scheduled event, it’s bound to change. Flexibility becomes the name of the game.
Flexibility is one of the lessons I am thankful I caught onto in the beginning of our parenting. Probably because my mom told me the story of a student she was working with when she worked in our area schools. Any time his schedule changed he would melt down and struggled. My mom explained to him what it means to be flexible and after that she began speaking into him that he was flexible. Internally, I started telling myself the same thing as a parent.
Here’s a great example and it happens without fail. The diaper bag is ready, all the kids are buckled in the van, and we are ready to head out. Then you hear the sound, the smell begins to fill every crevice, and you know you don’t have to look. The baby had a blow out. Yup, poop EVERYWHERE! Poop has exploded all over the car seat and all over them. All while the play date, church, anywhere you have to be in the next fifteen minutes isn’t going to happen.
Similar things happen during sit down homework time. You know the moment and the face that go with it. All of a sudden they have no idea how to do their worksheet, the same worksheet they have successfully been able to fly through with brilliant colors the last two weeks. Now, out of the blue they have no idea how to do it, the tears start flowing, and fits of rage come out of their mouths. Again, we know the worksheet is no longer the lesson, and may need to be visited tomorrow.
Usually the reason I become unwilling to be flexible is because I have a vision in my head of what I want something to look like and I’m not going to budge. It could be I’m tired from getting up with the baby for the last days. It could be I have shared, what feels like in my head, too much, and I don’t want to share any more with anyone. Yup, there’s a whole lot of me focusing going on.
I have learned that when me focusing is going on, it’s time to find time to myself. It’s time to run for the hills, eat chocolate, drink coffee, write, sing, and poop in peace. A mama has to do these things to preserve sanity. Being flexible doesn’t mean I’m willing to put myself last.
It means I’m willing to breathe, not take the things in my day too seriously, and be willing to let things go when I need to. Rushing and dragging my kids around only makes all of us end up in tears. My littles who are trying so hard to keep up with me, sit down in frustration and defeat. Their mommy is no longer waiting for them, they want to keep up, but they don’t know how.
With each kid we have definitely become completely different parents. We are WAY more relaxed and flexible with Timothy than we were with Maddie. In fact I would call us dictators with Maddie and more like grandma with Timothy. He gets away with less because we have learned each stage really is a phase and they do pass quickly. We laugh at his tantrums, which I’m almost sure we did not do with Madeline. We apologize to Maddie almost everyday over something we realize we were too strict on with her. We are thankful for grace, grace, wonderful grace. Grace that pardons and cleanse within.
Learning to be flexible has definitely been a roller coaster adventure!