Katie was upset, “I don’t know where I should be!” Katie’s daughter was sick again and Katie’s work was already short-staffed. She was pulled in two directions, equally loving her new job and equally recognizing that she (and not her family member babysitter) should be at home to comfort Myra.

“I don’t think I can do that.” Sadly, Amy turned down another opportunity to attend an evening class because her high school children needed structured time to have their hot-chocolate-and-cram time like every Thursday night before Friday quiz day at school.

“Sorry, can’t make it this weekend,” announced Elena as her friends made final plans for a girl’s pot-luck dinner Saturday night. Elena knew her husband would follow a different routine for putting Kelly down to bed and Kelly had just finally stopped wetting the bed at night. It just wasn’t worth the shame that Kelly might feel the next morning if he had an accident.

Coming and going. Starting something and then being interrupted and changing plans… This is the stuff of life. Despite all these challenges in where we should be and when we should be there, know that our children want us centered. They want the best for us. Their higher angels try to remind us that we parent the very best when we are at our best. Promise yourself to never say, “I promise.” That phrase always comes around to a moment of self-regret. You need mommy time even when it changes your child’s plans.

Fingers pointed at mom being criticized by society for her choices

We want our children to know our love for them is not dependent on them completing their to-do list (although their allowance may be…). We want them to be fluid and change course when more information directs them to do so.

The only way to teach that is to role model it. Devise a phrase that fits your personality, such as “change of game plan.” So there can be a “change in game plan “for hot chocolate and cram night being held on Wednesday night. No, they may not have all the material they need to succeed in the Friday quiz, but what they do have, study that portion together. Finish the evening off with some yoga to stimulate long term memory and affirmations regarding success and there’s your Wednesday night.

As we grow, we need “Plan B” strategies. Practice instituting Plan B even when Plan A is possible. Do it in a fun way and encourage creativity on your child’s part. “Okay, I see that all your blocks are right here, but let’s imagine that they floated away somewhere, what would we do? What is your Plan B game? Cool, I was just wondering, but your blocks are here so let’s play blocks. That was a really cool idea, though.”

Make it clear that you are impressed by their creativity, but don’t antagonize them by insisting on doing the Plan B when you really know their heart was set on Plan A. That way they will trust you and start enjoying Plan B planning, too.  

As you teach them fluidity without guilt, you will practice the skill for yourself. Our children truly do bring out the best in us. Our children truly do bring out the best in humanity. You very lucky parent, you!

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