I’ve been coming across blog posts in my many feeds painting the “wait a minute” mom as something these writer mamas don’t want to be. There’s no one blogger I’m singling out – there have been a handful of posts in a short amount of time and they got me thinking.
I get what they’re saying. After the eleven thousandth time we’ve told our kids to just give us a sec, hours have passed and we feel pretty terrible about it.
So, I understand not wanting to overuse the hold button. But can we be real for a minute? Sometimes if we stop, we’ll burn dinner. Or the baby will sit in the poopy diaper we were about to change. Or we’ll miss the return call from that medical bill error we’ve been trying to resolve for six months, and we’ll have to call back and burn most of the afternoon on hold, and once we get through the nine-item touchtone menu we’ll have to start at the beginning of the story with “David” whose real name we probably can’t pronounce…
Life doesn’t stop for requests for games of restaurant or parade band. Or, maybe it does for perfect moms with perfect houses and perfectly pinned dinners. For this very real mom, my kids sometimes have to wait for me to get through a phone call with the Davids.
What are we teaching kids if we drop everything, every time they want something?
I don’t want my kids to think that the world will take a break from spinning for them. The adult world certainly doesn’t work that way. They should know that everyone has their responsibilities and priorities, and sometimes we have to exercise patience and self-discipline until it’s our time.
It’s simple impulse control, a basic life skill that needs to be taught. Delayed gratification is so important that psychologists have been measuring it in kids since the 1960s with the famous marshmallow test.
What message are we sending if our kids never have our full attention?
We could spend a few minutes finishing that email completely, or we could stop halfway through and start a game of memory matching while typing the email out on our phone in between turns. Which scenario sends a better message?
Younger children don’t really get the patience thing as well as older children do. My big kids are well into the stage where they can wait, and they do.
I’m certainly not swatting them away every time they ask for something. Most of the time, I can get what they need right away. And when I can’t, they know it won’t be long.
Then, when it’s time to march in the parade, they get every bit of me and my xylophone.
Okay, I want to hear from other moms. Do you feel guilty when your kids have to wait?