Sunday, December 4, 2011

Parenting with my 'A-Game?'

I've been thinking about my waitressing days recently.  I enjoyed those days at Bob Evans in Sandusky, Ohio - taking orders, refilling coffee and bringing out great food.  The paradox of waitressing however, was that often my best service came when I was busy.  Doesn't make sense, does it?

When I was busy, I was constantly on the floor, so I was easily accessible if someone needed ketchup or another Coke.  When I was busy, I was zipping through the main doors to the floor, right by the cooks, so if they called out my order, I'd hear them immediately.  When I was busy, I was pouring everything I had into caring for my five tables.  It took my 'A Game' to stay ahead, so I was giving my 'A Game.'

 When I wasn't busy, it was the opposite.  I'd get into conversations in the back room with other waitresses.  Another waitress might have to come back and mention "Table 5 needs ketchup."  When I wasn't busy, my order might be called up, but I wouldn't hear.  I wasn't zipping by.  When I wasn't busy, I'd get lax.  I didn't need my 'A Game.'

It reminds me of parenting.  When my children were young, I was busy.  It took my 'A Game' to stay ahead of meals for a family of 6.  It took my 'A Game' to keep my toddler daughters happy at countless soccer games...that and a bookbag filled with crayons, coloring books, bagggies of pretzels and sippy cups full of apple juice. It took my 'A Game' to discipline children who hit or disobeyed or got out of their beds at bedtime. 

My children are now mostly junior highers.  Life's not nearly so busy.  They do their own laundry.  They get their own snacks.  They mostly get their chores done. They rarely need diciplining.  They get their homework done.  Parenting doesn't take my 'A Game' anymore.

So what game are my older children getting? 

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