Working from home with kids is a balancing act that sometimes involves allowing a kid to use an entire roll of tape in order to get something done. I also like to be very efficient with my time. I’ll open my laptop in the kitchen while I’m waiting for the water to heat up, to throw in noodles. I felt particularly ingenious yesterday when I decided that I was going to combine kiddie pool time with bath time. They hate to get a bath because it signifies the end of the day. We take a bath, settle down for a little show on tv or some playing before dinner and then it’s off to bed. There is always moaning and groaning. Yelling that I got soap and water in their eyes when I repeated 5 times at increasing volume to look up.
So yesterday, I just decided to combine fun with not so fun. We all had our bathing suits on and got in the kiddie pool. After splashing and spraying the water shooter over the roof of the garage, we got out the shampoo and conditioner, used the suds to wash the rest of their body. Voila! Pool time became bath time. I saved A LOT of time! They had fun! I had fun! The doorbell rang, I ran into the house as the UPS man was ringing the doorbell. I ran down the hall waving, bouncing along like Pamela Anderson (well that’s the picture I have in my head at least). The UPS man has a hilarious story I’m sure of that that he can repeat to his friends at a summer picnic (you’re welcome.) The UPS man himself is the epitome of efficiency. He beeps the horn like a friendly three beep beep beep, walks up to the door but I already heard the beeps, so I’m waiting, delivers the package or waves nicely and gets back into the truck. But his friendliness doesn’t end there. He beep beep beeps as he leaves. Except on my Pamela day, he saw me coming, quickly put the package down and didn’t wave or look back and there were no extra beeps. He must have been in a hurry. I’m sure my bathing suit running was not at all embarrassing to him. Although today, he gave me an extra long wave ;). So there you have it. You never know when you can turn something fun into a way to make your life more efficient and entertain your friendly delivery person at the same time.
Over the summer, my youngest daughter Fiona (age 3 ) was throwing water balloons into their pool on the deck ( the $14.99 blow up version from the toy store) She kept retrieving them by bending over the side and getting an arm wet or sometimes not depending on her technique (she was in her clothes and didn’t have her swimsuit on so she couldn’t get into the pool). She then would throw them back in. Some would float under the lip of the blow up pool and would be hidden for awhile, but either I would help her or she would find it. Once they were all out, she threw them back in until we had to go inside for the day. At first, I was getting a little annoyed thinking
“Why in the world do you want to put them back in if you already accomplished the task of getting them all out. You’re done. Move on”
However, I’ve been observing my kids lately to get their take on the world. They are like aliens, really, discovering things for the first time. They were a being outside of their body that chose this new adventure,but now they are feeling out this new body, the environment, and other people.
What she was doing wasn’t annoying. It was discovery. She wasn’t getting frustrated at all. She was enjoying picking out the color balloon that she wanted to and figuring out how to do that.
Did she have to lean in?
Did she need to ask for help?
Did she save the easy reaches for last or get those first?
It was all a fun adventure to her. But to us,we like to check stuff off of our lists,accomplish and move on. Sometimes the real fun is trying it a different way. She wasn’t saying “All of the other kids in the world can get the balloons out faster.” or “Why am I wasting my time throwing these balloons in there and fishing them out. It’s so much fun, but I have laundry to do.”
We are all starting to try and do things that we have wanted to do and so what if we don’t get it right the first time or even the 100th time. What if you send out 100 resumes only to get an interview on the 101th try. Just because we are a particular age doesn’t mean anything. What I did realize is that she learned from her mistakes. She didn’t get upset but laughed that half of her sleeve was wet. But after that,her clothes stayed dry. She was having fun and she wanted to try things every which way she could try it.
She even surprised me the other night after dessert. We had a really rich cake that our 5 year old picked out. Fiona, ate some and got a stomach ache. She said “oh well it’ll feel better and I don’t want to eat that again” The next day when the rest of us ate leftovers, she didn’t want any. She learned her lesson and asked for Banillva ice cream instead (vanilla but banillva sounds sort of Scandinavian so I’m going to keep that one). Again, her night wasn’t ruined by the stomach ache. We let things ruin our days, weeks, and years because we think that we made a mistake and it can never be undone. Instead, how about thinking that we learned something that didn’t work for us. My husband can eat near spoiled meat and his steel stomach feels nothing, but I eat one wrong thing and I feel it for a day. So two people can do the same thing with different outcomes, so to him what he ate wasn’t a mistake.
Having that confidence to shrug off the mistakes, the missteps, or the learning can help you to get where you want to go and propel you towards your dreams. Getting stuck in the muck and ruminating will get you headaches and sleepless nights (believe me I speak from experience). I used to ruminate about everything I messed up. As a young girl, I was taught to behave, get good grades, and don’t make a fuss. So if I didn’t follow this, I felt like I had messed up and I should have known better. Well, we have to live and try things. If no one tried something new or pushed themselves, it would be a very boring world. Know that if you want to succeed, there will be things that won’t go according to what your structured brain planned and ride the wave of adventure. Because sometimes, you find a new way to do something or a new way to have fun.