Will you just COME ON!?
It’s 850, and you have to drop him off by 900. Then your meeting starts at 930 and you need to be back at your desk, or at least your phone by then. With the traffic, it’ll be close, and you don’t want to talk while you’re driving.
You begin to feel that tension building inside you. You keep glancing at your phone, with an eye on messages, while still trying to cajole your 6 year old into readiness.
On the outside, you’re trying to stay light, keep smiling, positive, there’s an edge in your voice now.
He’s not playing ball. There’s a toy to be found. Coat to be examined, rejected. Shoes to find. Snacks to be grabbed.
You meet the dawdling with a rising tide of frustration and impatience. Till something snaps as you see the clock advancing closer to 9am.
Now you lose it. There’s some shouting. Even a bit of manhandling to get him out of the door on time.
You’re feeling so revved up. You zoom off in the car, praying the traffic won’t be too bad.
Your child is happily chatting in the back, the moment forgotten.
You’re dancing between feeling so frustrated that this is another crazy out of control start to the day and then terrible shame for losing it.
You’re so caught in this loop, you can’t even hear what your son is saying. You drop him off, say a swift goodbye and try to get your head in shape for the meeting. He’s shrugged it off, it seems. You? Not so much.
10 minutes later, on the call, and it’s hard to keep your focus. You’re not in that clear thinking state that gets you to results. It takes time to come down from the overwhelm of the start to the day.
For years, as a dad, I did this dance between patiently going with the flow and feeling caught up in a tangle of ‘enough already’ and trying to seize control.
The latter sometimes worked, but more often than not ended with me feeling cross, disconnected, grumpy and somewhat distant.
This isn’t a post on parenting, by the way.
I don’t have anything to say about how to manage the edge between children’s concepts of time and adults’.
All I can say, is that it looks to me like it’s more fun hanging out in the ‘no rush, follow my curiosity’ space that a young child inhabits.
However, I know what it’s like being a business owning dad. You’re used to pulling all the levers and getting the results. Your drive and energy take you places at work and God help anyone who can’t keep up.
That irresistible drive can meet an immovable object at home. Or if not immovable, at least highly resistant.
All the time I’ve got attached to having things a certain way at home, I’ve usually ended up flat on my face, in some form or other.
Fitting it all in, can feel like an insurmountable challenge at times. You need to keep the wheels turning on your business. You have things you need and want to do at home.
How do you find your way through this challenge, so you feel less stressed, overwhelmed, cross with others and yourself, and then shame for screwing up?
There’s a really powerful shift you can make, that brings this all into a much more peaceful balance.
I’ll outline it here.
That’s to get crystal clear on your highest values. I wrote about this here. But the second thing we do, is to dive deeply into your purpose and how you want to show up in the world.
There’s a simple structure for this, though it requires some quiet time and reflection to really connect more deeply with these three questions.
How do you want to BE?
What will you DO?
And what will you HAVE?
This Be / Do / Have structure, if created sincerely and in alignment with your values, becomes a very simple compass for your behaviour.
Say you want to BE connected and BE loving with your child… what will you DO?
You may choose to take more time in the morning. Not to schedule things close to drop-off time. You might choose not to look at your messages while he’s getting ready. You may give your full attention to him and supporting him to be ready on time.
The HAVE from this, is a more connected, peaceful start to the day, both with your son and at work. The HAVE is more space to be with your child and a better frame of mind on your call.
I teach this process in my Thriving Dad Programme, where we help you move from being strung out, reactive, overwhelmed, on a treadmill, to creating and living an intentional life.
A life, where you are crystal clear about what matters to you most, and where you shape and create it through how you are, what you do.