Tuesday, January 31, 2012

10 Minutes Early - Week 4 "Finale"

Where Does Happiness Come From?
Happiness comes from being early. I've discovered a subtle difference in attitude between those that cram as many things as they can into a day and those who accomplish the most important things in each day. This difference can be almost imperceptible. But it's there just the same.

Not me. I've got way more children and don't look nearly as calm driving. Ha ha ha.
Success Defined.
My goal of being ten minutes early to at least one appointment per day was a success. Not because I was 100% perfect with it. I wasn't. But mainly because we went an entire month with no fighting in the car. And I didn't look like the mom in this photo even once.

The Usual Pre-Car Ride Shuffle:
I'm hurrying around the house to get everything ready to leave. Snacks? Check. Extra diapers? Check. Everyone has shoes on? Check. "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry," I call to my children as I prod them out the door. They just don't move fast enough. "I need a drink! I need to pee! He hit me," echos in response. Frustrated Mom (definitely me) raises her voice. JUST GET IN THE CAR! We're going to be late! What's that smell? Oh crap. Baby just messed her pants!

Fake Cry
There's always at least one kid crying by the time we get out the door. The shrill of fake crying grates on me. Please. Be. Quiet. My ears are ringing. I crank up the radio to drown out the other. Can't think. Must escape. Must get there. Keep driving. Hating life. And when we arrive, I'll put on my mask. It's a warm and happy face. It helps me pretend like I've got everything under control.

Enter in 10 minute early plan. 
This turned out to be more like an intervention. I actually had to prepare to leave 20 minutes earlier than usual since it takes ten minutes to get out the door. There's no yelling. Just calm talking. We're not late. And if we are running behind, it doesn't matter. We've got wiggle room.

Leave Stress At Home.
I am in control of my mood. My kids pick up on the positive vibe. When they buckle up before me, they earn the right to choose our in-car entertainment. (Would you believe a 7 year old sometimes wants to listen to the news? Yeah. Pretty interesting kid.) My vision increases when I'm not focused on the slow car in front of me. I have time to make positive decisions on the road. I see the mistakes of other drivers sooner and am more willing to forgive them.

Model Driving
I've discovered a better way. Perfecting my driving habits now plays a major roll in how my children will drive in the future. They will emulate me. Cool, calm and collected.

Goals
Every driver has room to improve. Ten minutes early has been good for me. And my family. Definitely a keeper.

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