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Entries in parenting (11)

Go along with the guilt trip

This past week my family life was very busy.  It doesn’t hold a candle to the activities of most families but I felt the squeeze.

I shaved back my hours in the office to spend more time with my seven-year old.  I took him shopping and out to dinner, I attended an afternoon drama performance and took off the rest of the day, I did an early pick-up so he could spend time with his grandma before his music program and after work on Friday I hosted an impromptu play date.  Saturday morning, his dad took him to get free comics on Free Comic Book Day and then to a 10:00 play date with a friend.  When he was dropped off at home following the play date, he was fit to be tied.  He didn’t want the play date to end and was upset when I sent the other parent and child on their way. 

Then came the guilt.  He didn’t have any fun.  I never let him do anything.  He didn’t have time to do this or that thing. 

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Select challenging work


"Pink Language Work"

Graham is in a school that uses the Montessori learning method.  Each student is able to select what they do during their work period (usually 75 minutes) if they have had a lesson on the skill.  What he choses is to do is called "work".  Because his class is 3 and 4-year olds and Kindergartners, there is a progression in the type of work available.  

Graham is like me (and his Dad) in that he likes mastery.  The Montessori teaching style encourages this, however, it permits the child to achieve mastery at his or her own pace.  One of disadvantages to striving for mastery is the challenge that comes at some stage in the process.  The challenge that I instintively would rather sidestep or do enough to get by.  Taking the road of least resistance is less stressful but has less rewards.

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I don’t want to

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After the cuteness of your child’s independence wears off, “I don’t want to” is a phrase every parent could live without.  It’s time to get dressed – “I don’t want to.” It’s time to finish dinner – “I don’t want to.”  It’s time for your popsicle – “I don’t want to.”  The last one seems odd, but strangely enough, my 3-year old son refuses to enjoy certain things for the pure sake of exercising his free will.

Free will.  Freedom.  Liberty.  In the broad strokes of life, we take it for granted.  Yet in day-to-day living we exercise it every time we can.  As a parent, I want my child to be independent, speak for himself and make his own decisions.  At his age, encouraging his independence takes me to the edge of sanity on a regular basis.  But I still try to limit my parental authority (mandate) to circumstances where his safety is of concern, when I sense he impliedly needs boundaries or it is essential for proper development. 

Establishing boundaries is unpleasant.  Last night, like most nights, bedtime was a struggle of wills. 

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Six months after law school

Image by Thomas J. Dooley available at

Six months after my last final exam and I feel as if I am on the brink of recovering from law school. Three years of law school equalled a slow decomposition of my confidence, self-esteem, physical fitness, appearance and my ability to always get sh** done.  Parenting had something to do with this too; the lack of time available to devote to the aforementioned was a contributing factor.

The hardest thing to recover from was the blow that law school gives to your confidence.  This applies to everyone.  There isn’t enough spots for even the best students to get everything they set their mind to.  There is only one top spot in the class, only one law review editor, only one or two moot court teams.  Those were not of my concern, but it helped to know that every student is on somewhat of a level playing field.  Perhaps different leagues, but the same field.  See my post "Disappointment is a part of law school."

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There is no normal, only school

What was my life like before law school?  The same as it was before I had my first child.  Wake up, work out, go to work, come home from work, watch TV, check Facebook, go to bed and repeat.  Having a baby changes everything.  You don’t get to wake up when you want and watching TV becomes a luxury.  Typically, when someone has their first child, they don’t concurrently embark on something extraordinarily unfamiliar and challenging.  

I decided to do just that - I started law school when my newborn son Graham was  7-weeks old.  It was a whirlwind for sure, but when I think about it, if I waited another year I may have chosen not to go.  An infant doesn’t let you sleep or give you time to take care of yourself and neither does law school.  You can read a more in-depth version of why I decided to go to law school when I did in my book, but in short, I decided if law school became too much to handle I would take a break (from school, not parenting).  I ended up doing ok my first semester.  Not outstanding by any stretch of the imagination, but well enough to keep moving forward.

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