Process vs. Product: The Joys of the Means to an End
Parents are the most goal-minded individuals I have ever encountered. But, of course! We must ensure schedules and plans are in place to help us effectively govern our day-to-day activities. I dare not exhaust the “things-to-do list” filled with household management items, J-O-B deadlines, and children activities. It seems to never cease! Typically, moms and dads wake up with a clear picture of how the day will end…before it begins!
Spontaneity, which is not my “friend”, backed me into a corner one evening as I extended the invitation to play Scrabble® with my son…on a school night! Merely seconds away from hyperventilating after coming to my senses (a school night?), I grabbed the game with haste, removed it from the box, and positioned myself comfortably on my living room floor. My son was thrilled, to say the least. Guardedly he stated, “Momma, but it’s a school night. This is cool!”
Our game commenced and for the next fifteen minutes the flow was quite nice. Suddenly, in the midst thereof, I felt an overwhelming urge to read the rules. I just had to be certain that we were honoring the intentions of its creator precisely. While my objective was to win, attaining victory properly was my true purpose! My son, who was waiting patiently to resume playing, turned to me and said, “Momma, can we please just have fun?”
It does not take much for me to pump my breaks! Such a simple request from one who was in this Scrabble® competition for the sheer love of playing with his Momma! Then, it dawned on me: I was operating with a perfectionist mentality and was missing out on the joys of spending time with him in this manner. I was focused on the product (playing and winning the game as designed) and not the process (the loads of fun I could have with my son).
Once I dropped the paper and pushed it to the side, I was able to relax and have a ball! Now, some of the words we created surely did not exist, but who cared? Sore stomachs, tussling over a letter or two, and praying for a chance to use the letter “Q” filled the remainder of our evening. LOL! What a great, spontaneous, non-hyperventilating moment from that point forward! And, I totally became “one cool Momma!”
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Kimberly K. Parker is an author and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children. Visit her website at www.writingmomma.com to read more about her and the work she is doing in her community.