Tempo. It’s what I am looking for when I am with my kids. It’s not about hurrying, or stressing. That just makes things worse. It’s about moving things along smoothly. Anyone who has worked as a waiter can understand this. If things move too slowly, the plates stack up in the kitchen or tables get irritated waiting. If things move too quickly, no one has a chance to digest or the food fails to be plated properly. No good.
The same goes for solo parenting. Tempo is important when you are co-parenting as well, but not as important. If things slow down, one of you can pick up the slack. If things go too fast, then your partner can shift gears if need be, slowing things down. That’s harder when you are on your own.
Tempo is unfortunately about preparation. You need a plan. I think this used to be called routines. “Children like routines” I’ve heard it said. Really? Who likes routine? Well I do, but that’s because I am anal. But I would prefer not to pass that along to my children.
No, not routine, tempo. First one thing, then the next, then the next, moving smoothly along. It’s not about time, its about feeling. Routines are about time. At this time we do this, at this time we do that. That can be problematic with children under 10. Never know when they might start playing nicely. Don’t want to break that up because of routine. (Maybe I can find 20 minutes to read my book and drink a cup of coffee…)
Tempo is about overlapping occurrences that lead to group harmony. Food preparation that can be done when pictures are drawn. Then the table is to be set, so everyone should wash their hands. Maybe a short TV session while the dishes are being done, then it’s outside and the park. Maybe do the shopping while the kids play with the neighbors. You get the point. Tempo.
The biggest downside to tempo is that it is exhausting. Who wants to be so planned-out all of the time? I don’t have the stamina to do it every day that the kids are home. Nor would I really want to for that matter.
Going to try to contribute to WBD as often as I can, just to make sure that kungfoolery gets some competition for the title of World’s Best Daddy…