“People will grow bitter and cynical about life because they can’t bend it to their will” -Marty Rubin
It’s Saturday morning, the first of my only two days off from work for the week. We had planned to attend the family story time at our library and my husband is in the studio recording music all day, which means I am left to tend to the girls by myself. The hitch, I am a get-up-and -get -going type of person. I am your classic early bird. After I nursed my 5 month old, I snuck out of bed and was showered by 7am. Then I engaged in some princess-magic-hair-brush play with my three-year-old, got covered in sloppy baby kisses with lots of drool, changed a diaper, got dressed and shuttled us all downstairs for breakfast. My plan was to get the shopping done early, before the library event. My grocery store doesn’t open until 9 (this drives me intensely crazy! If I could get groceries cheaper elsewhere at an earlier time – I would!).
Trying to get everyone breakfast, tend to the pets, feed the baby again, get them both changed/dressed, potty, diapers, and in the car to get to the store when it opens (and shopping is always slower with kids), then back in the car, home, unpack the groceries, and then off to the library by 10:30 is TIGHT. I am actually sitting here twitching because I know that my wilfulness will cause the following:
Me talking to my 3 yo: “Hurry up. Get dressed! Didn’t you hear me the first time? Focus, love. Let’s go, hop in the car! Stop touching that!
(huff-puff, WTF was I thinking –chattering in my head). I can feel my blood pressure rising. We would make it home by 10am to unload the groceries. I would ignore my infant needing to nurse until we get to the library. I would be supper stressed, going as fast as I can. Rush everyone to the car to get to story time by 10:30.
THAT’S CRAZY! And yes, I have actually done this scenario, which is why I know how stressful and stupid it is. And why would I do that? Because I prefer to shop early? Nope. It’s because I have trouble submitting. We all have certain preferences. I happen to also have a hard time slowing down and being flexible. The fact is, I need to
submit slow down, not only for my own benefit, but for my children’s benefit as well. Or I risk increased stress, lost patience, and yelling at everyone to make them feel as bad as I do. This is the selfish side of me, wanting to get shit done when I want to get shit done. And it makes me twitch to slow down.
The opposite of willfulness is willingness. Let’s take a careful look at the scenario if I am willing to slow down. Okay, so I don’t get my shopping done early and will have more traffic to deal with later on. Or I could choose to shop tomorrow instead. I could choose to skip the library program, but I need to stop at the library anyway to turn in books, movies, and get a book I have on hold. Plus, my 3 yr old loves the family story time. The only rational choice is to change MY behavior and expectation.
So what if we get to the store later? At what harm? A happy 3-year-old and napping infant? Sounds okay to me. So what if our day is a bit slower paced than I like? Will it kill me – no.
Yes, I may feel frustrated to slow down, but once I am tuned in with the girls and we have synced our pace, the day will be a success.
Parenting is easy, it’s my own will that can make it feel like a battle.
having or showing a stubborn and determined intention to do as one wants, regardless of the consequences or effects.
“the pettish, willful side of him”
synonyms: headstrong, strong-willed, obstinate, stubborn, pigheaded, recalcitrant, uncooperative, obstreperous, ungovernable, unmanageable
Do you struggle with your own willfulness. How do you cope?