Sit in the Car for Five Minutes Before Picking up Your Kids

In the early days of new fatherhood, my husband once asked me when he came home from work: “Would you be angry if I parked around the corner without reaching our house and took a nap?” My initial answer to any of his questions, which starts with “Would you be angry if …” is always DEFINITELY, but after thinking about it, I told him, “No, if it helps you to refresh, be present and get carried away. when you walk through the door, do it . “

Okay, getting full daily sleep can be a little tricky (if you can rock it, keep going), but as the parenting mantra says, days are damn long and it’s important to break them down into transition periods. Of course, I miss the days when I could come home from work, take off my bra and sit on the couch, when no one spoke to me, climbed on me or asked me to turn on Octonauts , but this does not happen anymore. If I continue to think that this is the way it should be, and I crave this downtime, I will only be capricious and offended before sleep. So instead, I try to spend five minutes after work channeling the rest of my energy into the rest of the evening.

I found this time to be critical, and for the most part I am in a much more favorable state when I pick up my daughter from her full day kindergarten. The ritual is worth it, even if it means getting to work a little earlier or shortening your lunch break.

Here are some ways to create a five-minute transition zone before working with your kids again. (Parents who stay at home definitely need this transition, so help each other.)

  • Get in the car yourself. No, don’t park next to the playground where your child and all of his friends can look out through the gate and wave. Find a quiet place, turn off the engine and make it your time. Do some invigorating breathing exercises or a short meditation with an instructor. (I love this Joseph Goldstein ‘s Just Start Again podcast on the 10% Happier With Dan Harris podcast.)
  • Walk around the block.
  • Write down a few things you are grateful for.
  • Plan your evening. We often have clear boundaries for our work days, but when it comes to our home life, we tend to stick to a “let’s just see what happens” mentality. And usually chaos unfolds. By making a general plan for the evening, you can relieve the tension a little later.
  • Think of something special after the kids go to bed. Netflix Show? Another chapter in the book you’re writing ? Date with your partner ? A date with that box of ice cream in the freezer? Give yourself something to look forward to (besides meeting the kids).
  • Expect your children to be worse off. Especially if you are going to the “Hour of the Witches” . When I picked up my daughter from school, I told her that I really miss her and asked her all these questions about her today. In response, she whimpered and turned away from me in her car seat. I learned that kids need relaxation after being together all day (it’s tricky!). Parenting expert Janet Lansbury often advises mums and dads to “spread the red carpet” for our children’s emotions. They are more likely to return to their content faster.


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