My recommendations for the last 10%

I knew I needed a vacation because I caught myself getting pretty riled up at kindergarten pick-up time. Don't get me wrong, pick-up time after school is a time where one is justifiably allowed to be frustrated-- there are kids and cars everywhere and its mass chaos for a solid ten to fifteen minutes. Sometimes I need to practice Lamaze breathing techniques just to get through it without keeling over on the sidewalk.
But then I found myself yelling and waiving my arms at a woman who parked illegally and left her other kid in the car when she picked up her child, while I parked a block away and toted my two kids through the knee-deep snow.
I'm talking mega arm waiving. I was a veritable lunatic, very publicly humiliating myself.
Then not a day later at the same pick-up, I noticed how many parents were letting their kindergartners ride in the front seat of the car and was totally outraged. ''Don't they know how unsafe that is?? I can’t believe these people. They are risking their children’s lives!'' I yelled to anyone who would listen, and to some who probably didn’t want to.
Worse yet, I even emailed the principal of the elementary school to warn her of this scandalous parenting technique and asked if she could remind parents how lazy they were being by not putting their kid in the backseat.
And even worse yet, when she didn't respond to my maniacal cries, I was determined to write an entire column on the basic safety issues of kids riding in car seats, in which I would give a friendly reminder on how to take care of our little ones while on the road, while I casually berated parents who don’t follow the laws. (I still may do this…be forewarned.)
As you can see, the stress was starting to build up a bit.
But then we went on a little vacation, visiting my parents and grandparents. For a few days, I had a constant extra set of hands around to help me. Someone actually cooked me meals and then did the dishes. I even took a tiny bit of Me Time and read a book without pictures.
Not only that bit of loveliness, but seeing as we were away from home and on a school break we had an open calendar. It was, as you’d expect, quite enjoyable to kick back and relax. And just as we had stepped out of our stressful lives, I was able to step back and take a good look at that stressful life and realize just how ridiculous it is.
C’mon…yelling at kindergarten pick-up? Is that what my life had become? There has to be something better out there.
I think that in one’s head and heart, there’s a certain amount of energy for thinking and doing. You can only spend so much energy at any given moment, and it’s what you put it towards that really matters.
Mostly you have to do the mundane things in life, the things you need for basic survival. For me and many of my readers, that means that 30% of the energy goes towards cooking, 30% to housework, 10% to changing diapers, 10% to driving, and 10% towards remembering when to send the snack to school.
But what about that last 10%? Is it worth it to spend that last tiny bit on the lady who parked in the yellow zone?
And while sitting on the back patio of my parent’s house, I decided right then and there that I was going to take that last bit of energy and save it for myself, to be used whichever way I want that will make me feel a happy 100%, and to never risk having a coronary at pick-up time again.


Hui2 said…
Though I'm only dealing with one toddler going to & from playschool in all-year-round-summer-time Malaysia, I can totally understand your feelings!!!!! I have to tell myself to relax & not go crackers every few days too!

Good luck to your new resolution, & hope you find a happy 10% always!

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