In recent weeks, I have been assaulted with some form of the message: “Roll with it.” I think it’s a great message, and as I learn to embrace it, I am going to share it. This is a concept that all of us can benefit from in small increments; I don’t think I know a single person who hasn’t overreacted to some event in the course of their lives, and for me, those events are more likely to happen daily. I think that’s probably true for a lot of parents with young children.
The point is this: bad things will happen. Unplanned things will happen. You are not perfect. You will not achieve all you set out to every day. And you have a choice when confronted with these problems. You can berate yourself, your child, the universe, or whatever else you think caused life to go off-track, or you can roll with it. You can accept it and move on.
For me, this is manifested repeatedly in homeschooling. Our Kindergarten year did not go as planned, and really made me question continuing, but I motivated myself again at the end of summer, made a plan, and got excited all over again about sharing the learning experience with my daughter. I told myself what I needed for success was more discipline: more effort at planning ahead, a strict daily schedule to adhere to, and lots of communication about expectations.
Well, we all know what happened. I made it through about the first week on schedule, and then life happened. There was a playdate we wanted to go to, a field trip to a museum, a get-together with friends that the house needed to be cleaned for, and on and on. And I received the message loud and clear that I needed to learn to roll a little better—that flexibility is maybe the best ingredient for success (or at least at decreasing stress!). So we have had over 3 weeks of school now, and we haven’t given up. Some nights we’re doing math once the younger brothers are in bed, and we’ve had a couple Saturday afternoons spent studying, but we’re rolling with the things that come up. We miss a day and we carry it over to the next day. And that’s okay.
It is okay to not be perfect. It is okay to change your plans last-minute to help someone in need. It is okay to eat peanut butter and jelly some days. It is okay to be late for whatever because there was an explosion of poop that seems intended to put you off-track. Stuff happens, and kids will always be unpredictable. But they are watching us. They see you go all postal when the milk spills as we’re heading out the door, and for myself, that’s a behavior I want to change. I want them to see and emulate patience, and understanding, and an ability to roll with the tough stuff that happens; to be able to say, “This is not my plan for the day, but it’s okay. I’m going to make it work anyway.”
So whatever you struggle with—whether it’s homeschooling, or wanting to finish going through those last few emails before you make dinner, or even when it is something incredibly difficult like losing a job or a loved one, try to take a baby step towards rolling with it. Learn to embrace the struggle rather than letting it rule you, and understand that it’s okay to feel upset, and to change your behavior in spite of it.