Time: How you Manage it says more about you than what you thought! (Oh dear)

My lovely friend, Odette, has got me thinking again…How do you manage time?

Are you the person who always endeavours to be early – perhaps planning your journey somewhere to the nth degree and arriving well before you need to?

Are you the person who is always late and always apologising for your lateness? Does time disappear for you and you find yourself constantly behind?

Or are you usually pretty much on time…except for things which are important to you or for your health? Late to book your check-up? File your tax-return? Get to bed at night?

The tricky thing for modern mothers is that we are constantly told to take time for ourselves – but babies (biologically) need us to enter their concept of time, to put all our pressures to one side and ‘be’ with them. The cost of not spending quiet calm time on the sofa with our babies in arms – responding as they need us to respond to them, rather than fitting them around with the pressures of our lives is later maturity. How many adults do you know who are still immature or who are overly pedantic about behaving responsibly – chances are they (as babies) were parented according to their parents needs more than their own.

But just as important, and a key indicator in later maturity or lack thereof, is optimal mis-attunement. By mis-attunement I mean those times when we can’t respond immediately, because we’ve other children to attend to, or dinner is boiling over…

The key to this optimal mis-attunement seems to be in… the timing…

Complete attunement in the beginning, but at some time between 18 months to two years of age – the child experiencing that not all their behaviours are desirable or acceptable and that Mum has other things to do, sometimes, which are not centered around them.

In peaceful societies, yes there are still some around, one of the constants is this balance between continuous early attunement and emotional indulgence for that first 18 months to two years and then (quite abruptly in many cases) the loss of complete attunement – in a few cases quite intense discipline and boundary setting, but most often firm but non-emotional boundary setting and equally non-emotional responses to Power Tantrums. (The ones during which they can speak.)

Attunement gives us the sense that our needs are important and can be met. (Amongst other things.) Optimal Mis-attunement gives us the sense we can manage when things don’t go our own way, and that the needs of others are as important as our own. Both help us to leave the (normal) needy-emotional state of childhood and enter competently and empathically into a mature adulthood.

So how DO you manage time? Is the time of others (aside for very small people, which is a temporary state, even if it lasts 10 years) more important than your own? Is your role to support everyone else to the detriment of your own nurturing?

Do you always arrive late – having not moved from the child-like state of being in the moment and oblivious to the needs of others? (Until you abruptly are brought into consciousness and have to deal with another argument or state of embarrassment.)

Are you the person who avoids success? The one who can manage to be responsible and appropriate with time for others, yet aren’t comfortable with feeling good about yourself? The person who for some reason is punishing yourself? The person who forgot to book their check-up, file their tax- return, get to bed on time? Or in my case: finish the ebook, maintain the blog and blogging relationships – just at the point of success?

Oh dear. I’m working on it all – Promise! (I miss you guys. )

Looking forward to comments on this one. ( 🙂 )


About Karyn @ kloppenmum

kloppenmum is me, Karyn Van Der Zwet, mother of three and ex-teacher. I'm part of a revolution in parenting, with the aim to raise mature (not sophisticated) and self-assured children. I also know some stuff about adults. I have also had articles printed in The Journal for The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (Children and Young People) and the US parenting magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness, as well I regularly write for World Moms Blog (named as one of the Forbes 100 most useful blogs for women 2012 &2013). You can follow me on facebook (kloppenmum) pinterest (Karyn at Kloppenmum) and twitter (@kloppenmum). I'm also vaguely on LinkedIn (Karyn Van Der Zwet). Thanks to Joe (Mr Hare) for taking the photo. Cheers, son: xxxx.
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10 Responses to Time: How you Manage it says more about you than what you thought! (Oh dear)

  1. Your posts always get me thinking about my children, and then me as a parent. Thank you. I am often in a child-like state (so yes, late for things) which drives my husband nuts. I worry it will drive my kids nuts too when they’re big enough to get it. While I go about my day looking after two small children I can’t seem to feel fulfilled unless I’m also working on one of my (many) slow burning projects – the blog, the book, an article etc. Sometimes it’s ten minutes of thinking, other times it’s camming at the laptop when they’re resting or playing together. If I have a day of only doing things with the children, I feel like I’m not progressing the person I was before I became a full time mother. But then there’s the guilt I’m not being100% present…. Arg, I can’t see my way around it so muddle through, which often causes lateness!

    • I have been much the same – not so much the lateness, but when the two older boys were very young and I was doing all of my reading, the house was in a constant state of disarray and borderline-rats’ nest! I too snatched 10 minute intervals some(most) days…now I find myself in limbo again: wanting Mr Butterfly to be older and at kindy so I have more time, but also not wanting to wish his life away and constantly taking on more and more projects…sigh. I am trying to devise some sort of planned rhythm to my day, so that I can finish the ebook and get back into proper blogging mode – well I’m thinking about planning it at least. 🙂
      PS Could you be not so much in the childish state, but in a state of push-me-pull-you – where you want to give your kids the best, but also feel the pressures (internal or not) to be yourself still?…So tricky for modern women.

  2. Great post! It reminds me of the discussions therapists and others have around their relationship to money and being paid – or the client’s issues around money and paying. Time, money… there are probably others, but even becoming aware of this see-saw is probably god. And with time and children, I think you nail it well – we need to move carefully and mindfully from being there for them all the time to “mis-attunement” on the right scale so they can get real as they grow up. A difficult job!
    Right, this is my writing hour… why am I online????

    • I hadn’t heard of the connection with money and sense of worth, but it certainly makes sense and seems very obvious now that you mention it. As for getting our mis-attunement right…so hard, especially with those little loves who are highly sensitive – tricky to know when to nudge them (or be firm) – idenitfying when our one is having Power Tantrums (can talk) and Distress Tantrums (can’t) has made a huge difference. With more naturally social children it is so much easier because they are more likely to lead the way. Thanks for your support. 🙂

  3. Er… that would be “good” not god” – sorry!

  4. BinoandFino says:

    I’m horrendously bad at time management sometimes. So bad I haven’t dropped by to say hello in ages! 🙂 I don’t even have kids. I’m trying to get better at it. Prioritising what needs to be done whilst trying my best not to be distracted by other things and also demands from others on my time. IT’s hard to do sometimes espacially when you have responsibilites.

    • I’m struggling with dial-up internet and over-committing myself – hence my lack of everything on line! Always lovely to hear from you, Adamu. Hope Bino and Fino is going well. 🙂

      • BinoandFino says:

        Yes Bino and Fino’s going well. We managed to get it on TV in The UK and South Africa. It’s still tough but we’re making progress. Good to see your blog going from strength to strength. I haven’t had much time to drop in as I’d like.

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