Tiana Dodson

Do you have a canary?

published11 months ago
3 min read

Hello, my dear.

I'm dropping in your inbox today to share a little story with you. You see, Wednesdays have become special days for me because they are days I get to spend the morning with my kid. Here in France, kids don't go to school on Wednesdays meaning that children whose parents can afford to take the time use that day for extracurricular activities.

As someone who works for myself, I exchange working a few hours on the weekends for taking the morning hours off for my Small Monster. We usually have a little "adventure," meaning we visit a bakery or grab a delicious snack in the time between speech therapy and music classes before I drop him off at the daycare for lunch and afternoon play.

No matter how thankful I am that I have the privilege to be flexible and financially stable enough to spend this time with my kid, experiences I never had with my own mother, I still sort of hate Kid Wednesdays. Because they are an anxiety fest for me.

Instead of the normal hustle of the one-and-done of the school drop off, I've got to get my child to THREE different locations ON TIME. Find parking THREE times. Get a child to stay on task THREE times.

Yet, no matter how much anxiety I'm feeling, I tend to really enjoy Kid Wednesdays. My Small Monster is a purveyor of wildly fun conversations about planets and Minecraft and creative ideas that seem to be never ending. And those conversations, those moments together giggling over soft pretzels are wonderfully precious to me.

But sometimes it's a lot more tense. I'm a lot more tense. And these are the days that my kid becomes that canary in the coal mine for me.

I'm always actively working to remind myself that in situations where my kid can be stubborn, or even shitty, that this is a CHILD. That this small person cannot be held accountable to an adult standard of reasoning because they don't have the same experiences or cognitive ability. My child is being a child--a small human being who is only interested in enjoying and exploring the world. And often, as a parent, I have to be in the way of that, precipitating the small eruptions of big emotions and stubbornness.

So I remind myself of these facts and am able to respond with compassion because there is no malice here. And that's sometimes so very, very hard to do because I just want to get things done and have my space, my time to unwind.

Surprisingly, this weekly encounter with my dynamic little person is an amazing chance for me to stay in touch with myself. If I can't be kind and patient with my child, then I'm not doing well and must take care of my needs ASAP. Some alone time is definitely on order.

Do you have a canary in your life?

If you don't, what person or experience do you have access to that can begin to serve as your reminder to get checked back in with yourself?

Feel free to reply to this mail, I'd love to hear back from you!


Podcast Episode with Desiree Adaway

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