Like most families, our schedules are hectic. My husband has a demanding job that can easily lead to 12-14 hour days. I also work outside of the home, while managing my entrepreneurial efforts, the needs of my children, and the needs of an aging parent. Some days are HECTIC. But, by the grace of God, we make it work.
The most hectic part of the day can be the mornings. My kids are 2 and 4, and I never really know what I’m going to get in the morning. Sometimes they are pleasant and things go relatively well, and some mornings they do the opposite of what I say at every turn. It’s frustrating.
How Do I Manage Hectic?
So how do I manage the hectic mornings? Not as well as I should. My frustration shows, I tell the kids to do things quickly (mainly my oldest), the sweet tone in my voice turns to annoyance, and the morning becomes this mad dash to get them fed and out the door, so I can either get to my office or get my mother to an early doctor’s appointment.
And let’s not even talk about evenings. Sometimes they are more hectic than the mornings are. Cooking dinner, bath time, reading, helping my mother—and all while my husband is still stuck at work. And like most of you, some evenings I give myself a small round of applause because I pulled it off and everyone is actually happy, while other evenings feel like an epic fail and I tuck my kids in feeling like I disappointed them that night. Indeed, this motherhood stuff is not easy.
Recently I started to give some thought to what these hectic mornings and busy evenings might be doing to my kids. With so much on my plate, am I passing my stress on to my children? Am I making them feel rushed, when their preschool spirits tell them, what’s the rush? Am I expecting them to eat meals quickly so we can get to the next thing, when they just want to savor every bite in between laughs? Am I teaching them that it’s okay to get annoyed and frustrated just because things don’t go the way I planned?
The Impact on the Children
I wish I could tell you that the crazy mornings and evenings are the only things that have me thinking about my parenting skills, but they aren’t. There’s also the impact the news has on my spirit and my parenting, too, leaving me with concerns about predators, terrorists, or how I will explain to my black son that his life is always in danger simply because he’s black. Are all these real concerns impacting how I parent my children, and is that impact potentially causing some anxiety for them? Could I be making them less resilient?
I know we all have a lot going on and it’s inevitable that the more we have on our plates, the more we might do or say a few things we wish we didn’t with our children. Does that make us bad parents? No—it’s just makes us good parents who are dealing with a lot. If we acknowledge our missteps and do our best to make things better, our children won’t suffer great emotional trauma. What they need most is our love and our genuine best effort. But are we all really giving them our best effort?