I made a pretty significant move in my professional career several years ago.
At the time, I was struggling to balance the demands of a rewarding but intensive work life with the needs of my young family.
If I could have hovered above my home and watched my family some mornings during this time, I would have seen never-ending attempts to balance those two challenging worlds. I would have seen a frazzled mom, running out the door before her toddler was even fully awake. I would have seen a husband (who will readily admit that he’s not a morning person even on his best days) stumbling through a haze clouded by no sleep, a clingy toddler, and spilled cups of milk. And I would have felt an overall vibe, to be honest, that was a pretty crappy way to start anyone’s day.
One day it hit me. How can I send my kiddos off to their daycare friends with a jaunty, “Have a good day!” as they were walking away from a dumpster fire of a morning routine?
My husband and I knew that we didn’t like starting our days with a sprint, marred with short tempers and quick, terse exchanges. We wanted to model better behavior for our kids and send them out to start their day with a better frame of mind.
So we adjusted. My husband and I talked about what was working, what was frustrating, and what needed to change.
For starters, we talked about the fact that I liked mornings. Rather than give that important part of my day to my employer, I switched jobs to a position that is equally rewarding but allowed me a later start time and more flexibility. I was able to be more helpful in getting the kids through their routines. And in turn, my husband stepped up with housework in the evenings when the rest of the house was settling in for the night.
We successfully tapped into our adult “superpower”: there is always something we can control.
My husband and I focused on incremental changes to improve the tone in our home. It mattered to us that the kids had a great start to their days, and we focused on ways we could set the tone in our house.
It’s still not perfect, and many days we still sprint out the door with unmatched shoes (and one time, with one pantless child. It happens.)
But it’s again time for me, my husband, and you, my fellow parents, to use those superpowers uniquely bequeathed to adults.
It’s time to again focus on the things within our scope of control as we look ahead at how the COVID pandemic will impact our children and our families this fall.
The back-to-school train will indeed fall off the rails at some point, and we’ll need to look for those things we can control, as parents, to ensure that we’re supporting the needs of our children and families through these uncertain times.
Our kids will need structure, they will need care and support, and they will need a warm home where they feel secure. Only when these primary needs are addressed can children be prepared to learn. Our adult superpowers will need to be laser-focused on these needs as we paddle through waters unlike any we’ve ever encountered.
The only thing certain about life over the next few months is that it’ll be wrought with uncertainty.
And like every hurdle in life, as parents and adults we have the opportunity to tap into your superpower and set the tone for how we’ll clear those hurdles one at a time.
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