Friday, February 24, 2012

Productivity, and Other Lies Parents Tell

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the ugliest, most uncomfortable plastic chair you could think of. There are children screaming at dog whistle levels. Most of them are mine. My fingers are so purple, they match my favorite shirt perfectly. There are other things I could be doing right now to kill time until the awesomeness of Girl Scout cookies show up. (Love you Jo Jo. Seriously.) 

But the kids are having the time of their lives. So we’ll stay. For at least a little while longer.

 Revolving doors will keep them busy for hours. Trust me on this one.

The Hardest Part of Having Kids Was Learning How Not to Fail at Productivity

Last week I said I was going to set responsibility aside for a while and just be a mom. I think I’ve done pretty well at that this week. Helped along by the fact that my work load’s waaaaaaaaaaay down right now, my kids were on vacation, and we didn’t really have anything else we HAD to do. But as much as I’d like to pretend otherwise, there’s no getting around the fact that I still have to buy groceries. I still have to get the kids to dance and swim and tae kwon do. There are going to be days like today where it’s just an endless stream of errands from one end to the other.

Maybe I’ve romanticized it a little in my mind, but running errands feels like it was a lot easier when all I had to do was move the kids from carseat to shopping cart to car seat to stroller and back again. They weren’t running in three directions at once. They weren’t squabbling and fighting and forgetting to look with their eyes instead of their hands. They certainly weren’t boinging off the ceiling.

These days, my kids manage to do all of that. In a single trip. The fact that I still have hair is a miracle. The fact that I haven't just started keeping duct tape and handcuffs in the car is an ever bigger one. Fortunately, there are saner (and slightly less creepy) ways we get through our day. 

The most important of which is to plan lots and lots of time for time outs.

Sticking Your Kids on Time Out in the Car is a GOOD Idea??

Nope. Not if I want to have a car left, at any rate. No, I'm talking about something much more simple. Time out during the day. Time to stretch and play. Breaks between running errands to let them be kids instead of the mini-adults I expect them to be when they’re standing in line. 

At a birthday party a few years back, a friend asked if I took my kids to Chuck E. Cheese after running errands as a reward for being good. He looked slightly scandalized when I admitted that nope, we usually hit the House of Mouse first and bumped everything else back until after.

Yes, it’s kind of like eating your dessert first. You get the reward, then you have to slog through the healthy stuff you don’t really want (that you usually just suffer through to get to dessert). No, it probably doesn’t do a lot to teach self-control and delayed gratification.


It might just be my kids, but I know after an hour long car ride, the mini-occupants of my back seat are ready to explode. They’re not going to walk quietly through the store. They’re not going to sit peacefully at the restaurant. Heck, I’m lucky if they don’t go running out into traffic!

I suppose I could spend the entire trip trying to get them to stay calm by promising them a treat later, but honestly? It’s a lot easier to take 30-40 minutes, go to Chuck E. Cheese (or the park, or the McDonald’s playplace, or whatever) and let them burn out that overflow of energy first. Then they’re a little calmer, and I’ve got a fighting chance at getting through the day with my sanity intact!

What are Your Super Secret Secrets?

Everyone has little tips and tricks that help them get through days of productivity relatively unscathed. This is mine-take lots and lots of breaks to let your kids be kids. What are your super secret secrets of productivity after you’ve added kidlets to your day?  

1 comment:

Angleicka said...

You are definitely romanticizing the baby days!!! Are you nuts? My kids can't stop touching things whether they are cart bound or not... and they scream. And try to get out of the cart. Or throw my stuff out of the cart.

And the never-ending buckling of car seats is enough to make me lose it. Seriously... I have A LOT of years left with harnessed children... I'm not sure I'll make it alive.


And I do bear Girl Scout Cookies to those that are worthy... haha!