What my daughter's teaching me about my over-committed life
I'm a busy lady.
I'm not the urban domestic diva for nothing.
I can bake the 5th grade class some brownies, do laundry, prep for a new biz pitch, run an errand for Girl Scouts and get a blog post up while most people get caught up on their "Walking Dead" series. I not only take great pride in doing all this, I expect it of myself. It's how I define who I am. Some people think I'm crazy. In fact, a colleague was describing me to a neighbor and she responded by asking if I was manic or in a depression.
I mean...I don't think so.
But what I've noticed I expect the world, and my daughter in particular, to handle juggling as many plates as I do. We realized we were over-scheduling our daughter a year or so ago. So we have cut back on her commitments. But as she has been honing in on specific interests, I have been finding ways to nurture those interests. Therefore, I keep scheduling her for class after class. I also want to give her opportunities for socialization. Her school class is almost TOO small (yes, there is such a thing) and her quirkiness and creativity alienates her with her classmates. I rationalized that the more opportunities I give her to meet other people with her same interests, the better.
Well, one very long day later (school, aftercare, pick up, snack, home to change, back to school for "girls in the know" class) I am sitting with my ADHD daughter at this "girls in the know" class, and she's yawning obnoxiously. She's doodling. She's restless. The speaker that night was soft spoken and not very engaging, either. We were in the back and she was very hard to hear. I was becoming more and more frustrated with my daughter. Then I looked at the clock (approaching 7:15 pm with no real dinner in either of our tummies) and I think to myself, "This poor thing has been going since 6:30 this morning." With a child that has ADHD, this is a lot to expect. Then I silently curse my husband who decided this week to go on a fishing trip, forcing our daughter into aftercare that day. It was a long day for her. Heck, for me too! But I'm 40-something!
Then I looked around to get some perspective. Some girls were behaving and engaged (why can't my daughter be like that). Some were doodling, spacing out (well, shes not the only one). Some were giggling and whispering. (I wish my daughter had more friends at this annoying school.) and then there was us in the back.
And yes. I Expect my daughter to preform like those kids that at 7:15 were still engaged, behaved and focused. But she's not. She is who she is. She needs breaks. She needs to wind down before I get her into her next activity. I just can't expect her to keep a schedule that's wall to wall packed like...well...like me. And my colleague said to me when I shared this realization, "Flora, not many ADULTS can keep up with a schedule like yours."
Maybe Flora shouldn't keep up with a schedule like hers, either? Maybe my daughter is on to something? Maybe I need more down time? Maybe I need to let go of something on my to-do list. Maybe I need to say no to volunteering myself for one more thing. Maybe I should just curl up and read or watch a silly show, like my daughter needs to do in between school work. Or have a cup of tea before bed while reading to wind down, like my daughter prefers to do? Or lay on a blanket and watch the stars, like she does on summer nights.
I actually do that with her sometimes. Its the best. We need to do that more.
I need to do that more.
Its so true, our kids have more to teach us then we do them.