Friday, December 17, 2010

Keeping priorities

We learned last week that we badly need new tires on our Saturn (the car Maaike now commutes in). This is in addition to needing snow tires for our Subaru. Given some of the travel plans in the next couple of weeks, we wanted to get the tires soon...but I just wasn't "making" it happen. Then an email from Maaike this morning really set me off (I'll spare you the details, but it really was an innocuous email) and I started believing that I HAD to do something about it right that minute and I had to get it right. Despite a rather snotty response to the contrary, I picked this demand that I take care of the tires today, right now up and I added it to the other "duties" I already had going this morning as a full-time dad.

Now, I want to take a step back and say that Rebekah (4 months old) woke up at 6:45 am today, rather than her usual 8 to 8:30 am. By the time I saw Maaike's email it was 8 am and Rebekah was already getting tired and ready for a nap (although, I didn't notice the cues that this was the case). I spent the next frustrating 45 minutes trying to search online for a place to get tires while also trying to keep a tired baby from fussing.

I don't remember the actual moment it hit me, but at some point I realized that Rebekah was fussy because she was tired and needed to go to sleep. The next thing that hit me was that I had traded my first priority for a secondary one. My primary responsibility is to care for these two amazing human beings. Period. Everything else is secondary. Now, we do need new tires, and this is a matter of safety and, therefore, a part of caring for my girls. However, the process of getting the new tires is not as time sensitive as was Rebekah's need for a nap.

What I learned again today is that there is no need to panic and leap to action, save for the obvious emergency situation. The way I want to approach my life is by staying present with what is at the moment and to re-evaluate as new information becomes available. The benefit of this approach? In this situation, a happier, more rested baby and a less stressed-out, frustrated daddy!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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