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Parenting Happens When You Least Expect It

Let’s be clear. We all know that parenting is a 24/7 job and there are no vacation days and you never get a day off. You balance the urgent and important minute by minute, saving for college while you scribble field trip forms, making sure you have good open communication while you pack a half-assed sandwich. You make it work. If something is neither urgent nor important, it’s likely not making it on to the list on any given day - things like organizing your junk drawer, marinating the chicken, putting the kids artwork into archive-safe folders.

Urgent? Much better chance. Field trip forms, tossing the uniforms in the laundry, scrambling to find the library book that needs to be returned tomorrow? Done, done, done.

Important? Like, will it matter next year or in 5 years important? Having a college savings account, a retirement fund, a mortgage you can pay without an undue amount of stress. Yup, that’s happening too.

And sometimes - when you’re really lucky - something that’s both urgent AND important comes up and then there is no question of its priority. Case in point: If you’re doing the dishes and your 4th graders asks about how you get a baby, you turn the water off, dry your hands, and answer the question. He will roll his eyes and make vomiting noises through most of it, but you’ll use your big girl terminology and be very clear about how biology works and you’ll even say that one day when he’s a lot older like 28 he might not mind so much. You’ll see the wheels start spinning in his head and you’ll know what’s next. Yes, nana and papa did that to get me. Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Neighbors down the street did that to get your pal. Yes, the cousin you saw at the wedding we went to Friday night did that to get the baby they are expecting. No, I’m not sure your teacher has ever done that since she’s not married. No, you don’t have to be married but for a lot of people that makes sense. Yes, you can have ice cream. GREAT idea. I’ll have a glass of rosé while you do. And speaking of ice cream, you will deftly change the subject and hope it’s several more months until the next urgent and important question.

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