“I wish we never had to leave Momma!” Is a frequent statement from my kids. When my daughter first discovered her favorite show, I can remember her first reaction to being told, it’s time to turn off the tv. She stuck out her bottom lip and widened her eyes in what I still consider an epic pout. In these moments, my kids express their disappointment and in a more subtle way, they offer a clue about something they enjoy.
Transitions rule our lives as parents. As a young clinical social worker, a top five request from the families I worked with was a request to deal with moving from one activity to another. Whether it was getting ready for school in the morning, moving from play time to homework, or the dreaded bedtime routine. The need was always the same, please help me get through the changes in our day.
Ten years later, I struggle with the same challenge. Here’s the catch, I’m the person struggling with transitions. No judgements, or at least be kind. Lately, going back to work on Monday morning is more challenging than the usually ‘Mondays’. It takes most of the day to get through the inertia and welcome the work day. As soon as I feel the momentum moving me through the series of meetings, it’s time to go home. When the clock hits 4:45pm, it marks a small failure. My to do list is longer, my outlook calendar is full, and there is simply no time left.
I pack my things and leave later than I ‘should have’ to arrive home stressed. Let the next transition begin. I often let the stress of the day impact family time. Generally, it’s a small moment with my family that pulls me out of my head. My daughter touching my face or my wife making a joke. “Momma, how was your day?” My son asks, reminding me that my day isn’t over. It’s simply a change, a transition to another part of my life, and often the best part.
I’m not sure what has made the past few weeks more difficult. The end of winter, a new job, or simply poor planning. Whatever the reason, I am more aware of the moment between one activity and another. The feeling of joy when I stop cleaning and begin to play a new game with my kids. Or the frustration when I have to ‘shut down’, ending the work day. It’s become a daily practice, accepting that this busy life is a series of transitions where I am forced to wake up and pay attention to what’s happening in the moment.