Thursday, January 08, 2009

Militant Mom or Flexible Mommy?

So where should I start? It's been a couple interesting weeks and a great start to the New Year. First, as my daughter returned to nursery school this week, I fell into the routine that I experienced growing up. You see, whenever we returned to school from summer or holiday vacation, my mom thought it best to act extra strict to kick-start us back into the routine. She said that we had gotten use to sleeping in, being spoiled by extended family (who, me?) and unaccustomed to the regimen. So, my mom would act a bit like a sergeant and get us up early, not budge a single bit on rules or responsibilities and kept a stern face. I guess as an adult, I just fell into her way of thinking.

However, I'm reading a book called This is How We Do It about working mothers. One part of the book talks about easing new parents back into the workforce after having/adopting children. What's the relevance? No, I'm not expecting! As I read the book, I wondered if the same principles and rewards could be achieved if I simply eased Little K back into her school routine. Instead of rushing to school in search of jumpstarting my own work day and getting back on track, what if I took Little K in a bit later? What if I made sure that after school we played the same games that Little K loved during Christmas break? I'd try it.

The first day, Monday, seemed fruitful as Little K was excited to return to school. Tuesday and Wednesday were a bit more of a struggle as I had early morning meetings combined with temper tantums both days. It's hard to allow 30 minutes of TV time in the morning when you're watching the clock, hoping to make a 7:45 am meeting. Some days, it's harder to ease into the day than others. Wednesday night, we discussed not having temper tantums, but rather picking out her outfit and a toy to take in the car (before walking out the door!), eating a good breakfast and leaving the house when Mommy said.

Thursday morning arrived. Again, I had an early morning networking meeting but I'd agreed to go a bit late so that we could balance my work needs with our family needs. Little K appeared at about 6:30 am with her selected shirt in hand. When I offered to help her get dressed, she giggled and ran back to bed saying she wanted to sleep more. Upon entering her room and sitting on her bed, I quickly discovered she wanted to be tickled. Cool. It's a good way to start the day on a happy note. She got dressed, went downstairs for breakfast while I did her hair and responded to my 5-minute-before-departure warning (even though Curious George was on TV). At departure time, I turned off the TV and watched Little K put up her dishes (remember: she's 3.5 years old), get her babydoll and head for the front door. I was amazed at how she got in the car and minutes later walked into class. Something was working. I'm not sure if it was my change from militant mom or the fact that we discussed each step and it's Thursday so Little K is getting back into things. BUT, I have to say that I feel better about easing back and not being THE ENFORCER. I like my role as Mommy much better.

How has your first week back from the holidays been?

Until the next nap time...