My daughter and son-in-law gave birth to their third child—my first grandson. To help out I took the week off to be with my granddaughters (2 and 4 years old). I started out with plans of visiting relatives, doing craft/baking projects, reading books, maybe a children’s museum, building a snowman, etc. etc. There would be little to no television, healthy yet fun snacking; and most important they would have my undivided and top quality attention.

By day 2 I had prepared over a dozen snacks/meals, answered at least 50 questions, buckled and unbuckled seatbelts at least 30 times, listened to a rap version of Itsy Bitsy Spider about 15 times, and cleaned/participated in some type of “elimination” detail at least a dozen times.

Then there was story time at the library when the 4 year old decided it would be fun to join her sister in running through the maze of book shelves and laughing at my attempts to halt their fun.

These 2 little “sweeties” as I have come to call them definitely had my undivided attention…however the quality was in question.

I was losing my cool!

I thought of what I would say/do as a parent coach:
“notice your body”…mine was tense, my breathing shallow and I imagine there was very little oxygen getting to my brain;
“look at the big picuture…” I realized that I quite overwhelmed;
“who is really in charge?” the girls were running the show.

I got a grip; got down on one knee, took 2 little hands, said shhhhh, and with gentle firmness walked them back to story time. I salvaged the “library experience”!

We had Wendy’s take out for lunch and watched two rounds of “Little Bear” when we got home.

And, as the week went on I relaxed quite a bit and used fewer words when I needed to discipline. I was also able to let go of my initial idealistic plans and be guided by my granddaughter’s needs and my energy level.

I applaud all you moms and dads out there. Raising your children is indeed the toughest job you will ever do!