Family Matters
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Family Matters



One sure fire way to make parenthood miserable is to try to live at an adult pace with young kids in tow. It’s a guaranteed disaster.

If they are infants, you’ll have one blow out diaper after another delaying your plan to get out the door. Then they will spit-up on YOU as you put them back in their car seats. You’ll manage a quick change, then juggle car seats, the stroller, and a giant diaper bag to the car. Just as you snap them into the car, they’ll spit-up all over themselves. Sigh.

You may have given yourself 15 minutes to get out of the house, but you’re not going to get anywhere on time. You’re better off giving yourself at least 30 minutes to get from house to car. Crazy? No, this is the new normal for you. And it won’t go away for a long, long time.

You probably think that as they get older it will get faster. Nope. It will get different, but not faster. Once they are walking, they will not always walk in the direction you desire. In fact, they often run in the opposite direction. This can slow things down a quite a bit.

Then there’s the “me do it!” phase. One child will insist on putting on their own shoes and socks. Great! But slooooow. Another child, will of course, prefer that their personal servant do the “shoes and socks thing” for them…even when they are six years old!

There are the dawdlers. It’s just who they are, and you will never speed them up very much. Or course, there’s the easily distracted. For them every piece of fluff or toy on the floor offers a stream of ideas…none of which have anything to do with getting out that door.

And there are the “anti-transitioners.” They can’t bear to stop something not yet “done.” It could be a stack of blocks, a train set session, a Lego creation, a video game, or a book. Whatever it is, they hate leaving it “unfinished,” and thus the transition to going out the door becomes full of frustration and resistance.

So, in order to minimize your frustration, allow a lot of time to get from the house to the car. Decide for yourself that it’s just a new pace of life and get used to it.

There are a few things you can do to help. You can have yourself fully ready before getting the kids moving. You can acclimate yourself to smelling like baby barf. You can pick and lay out clothes the day before.

You can have them practice putting shoes on when you’re not going out. When you really need to go, you play “race to put your shoes on.” You can give five-minute warnings that it’s time to go.

However, all of this is only going to gain you a little bit of speed. The reality is that these are beings whose brains are not yet anywhere near fully developed.

They will be constantly learning and developing for years and years to come. They need you to give them an allowance of time. A big allowance for a long time!



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Kathleen Cawley

Kathleen Cawley

Physician Asst., twin mom, author of “Navigating Modern Parenthood: Warty Truths and Wisdom from an Older Mom with Twins.” Coming out spring/summer 2022.