Remember fulcrums and leverage? No? Don't worry, my highly scientific graphic (above) explains it all. According to the laws of physics, the amount of effort it takes to lift a burden on one side of the triangle depends on where that effort is applied on the other side of the triangle. You have to push down pretty darn hard to lift that ton if you push at point A. If you push at point B, however, it's easy. That's the kind of leverage I look for. Why work harder than you have to?
Below are some of my discoveries. If you’ve got some of your own, please share in the comments section. If you can’t even relate to this quest because you never run out of energy or patience with your kids, God bless you and your lucky little offspring.
ASK YOUR KIDS TO DO MORE. Kids grow up so quickly that our assessments of what they’re capable of are almost always outdated. Sure, it seems easier to do things for them when they might take a long time or mess up doing it for themselves. But they’ll get better soon, and then you’re off the hook. And they love doing “grown up” stuff! Whenever I remember to do this, I’m delightfully surprised at the results. (Of course I’m not advocating letting them do anything unsafe without supervision; even my desire for more leisure has its limits.)
GIVE YOURSELF A TIME OUT. I can’t tell you the amount of wasted energy I’ve saved myself by cutting down on my own fuming and spouting. How? I finally learned that whenever I find myself losing my temper at my kids, I can pretty safely assume that something’s going on with me that they’re not really responsible for… and no amount of railing at their behavior will change that. I’m not saying my kids’ behavior is never out of line or needs addressing. I just know that when I’m seeing red is never a productive time to “talk to them” (i.e. yell at them) about it. It’s not effective because all they take in is my anger. Which makes them think I hate them. Which makes me ashamed and heartbroken. Triple whammy! All of which can be avoided by just stopping myself in my tracks and taking a brief time out to figure out what I need to do for myself, either in the moment or at the next convenient opportunity.
Another area I could really use advice: neckline thingies for stretchy knits. Here’s me in a shirt I just made. (Fabric by Riley Blake, pattern traced from an H&M long-sleeved T in my wardrobe.) I love it except for the neckline thingy. I don’t even know what it’s called – neck bias or binding or something like that? -- much less how to make one that doesn’t jut up or flip over or both. I guess I need to stop winging it and look up how to do it. Maybe next shirt!
THANKS FOR READING AND HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU!