The best laid plans

A good friend of mine, Krishana, who we haven’t seen in a while, texted me today.  She was going to be in our neighborhood (literally across the street) this afternoon and wanted to know if we wanted to meet up while she was there.  She was planning to arrive right in the middle of the boys’ nap time, but she graciously offered to change her plans to be able to see us, so we made a plan to get together after nap time.  Perfect!

First, I made the mistake of *telling* the boys that we were going to meet her after nap time.  Their tandem response was, “Krishana! We love her!”  Note: never tell your kids ANYTHING exciting that is going to happen after nap time, because it will take forever to get them down and the nap will last 5 minutes.  And that’s exactly what happened.  The kids are usually great about taking (typically short) naps — they lay down willingly and stay down quietly for about an hour (sometimes longer).  Today, it took me 45 minutes to get them to sleep and Benjamin wanted to get up literally 5 minutes after he closed his eyes.

So, instead of the kids being well-rested and having half an hour or so to wake up and get ready to meet our friend, they woke up at pretty much the exact moment we needed to start getting ready to get out the door if we were going to be on time.  And they were cranky.  Benjamin was grumpy.  Liam cried whenever I tried to touch him.  Bravely, I continued onward — I told them we’d need to start getting dressed in 2 minutes in order to get out the door on time.  More crying.  More grumpiness.  I was getting stressed and frustrated.  I didn’t want to be late, but I also didn’t want the kids to be miserable.

And then, I looked at the boys, imagined the amount of accommodation they would have to make, for my sake, to make the plans work, and realized, “It’s just not going to happen today.”  As much as I wanted to see Krishana, to catch up and hang out, I was also very aware that getting to see her wouldn’t be as great — for anyone — if the boys were crying and miserable.

So, against all of my perfectionist mommy instincts, ignoring my internal self-scolding for blowing her off after she adjusted her plans around *our* schedule, I cancelled.  That is so not me.

But, it was really pretty functional.  Although I was disappointed and a little wistful that she was so close by, but we were unable to see her, I knew it was the right decision.  The kids were tired, cranky and frazzled.  I was in my overly rigid mommy mind where everything HAS to go a certain way and I get critical of myself and the kids when things go a bit off the rails.  I get like that sometimes — more focused on how it “has” to be, instead of on how to make the best of the current situation — and I’m starting to learn to see that as a warning that I’m really not seeing things the right way.

I was bummed.  So were the boys.  (And, I’m guessing, so was Krishana.)  But, we were all being taken care of in the way we needed to.  I wasn’t asking more of the boys than they were really capable of in that moment.  And I wasn’t asking superhuman things of myself — getting grumpy kids dressed and out the door in a few moments, all while trying to keep my patience and remember that we were supposed to be having a good time.

So, it didn’t go the way we wanted.  My boys took their time waking up, got themselves together, and we had a good afternoon.  No lost tempers, no hurt feelings, no unrealistic expectations.  We’ll see Krishana again soon, and, in the mean time, we had a peaceful day.

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