As I sit to write this, it is late Monday afternoon. And for those of you halfway familiar with the Free Press schedule, you know what Mondays are.
Press day. Deadline day. Have- your-stuff-turned-in day.
Monday afternoon is not the time to be sitting down to write my column.
And yet, here I am.
In my defense, I didn’t forget about my column, per se. I was just a week off.
I generally use life-happenstance to be my inspiration. So I guess I will go with it.
Mommy-brain is not a myth.
It is a full-fledged, headache-worthy, always-have-a-calendar truth.
But sometimes, not even the strongest Tylenol or the biggest calendar helps.
It’s in those times something fellow columnist Shelly Plett wrote about a few weeks ago, sticks out like the cliched sore thumb: “It is what it is.”
It’s not that the grouping of words was anything new. I had heard those words before.
But it was the amount of situations those words can be applied to that really got my attention.
And yet, “It is what it is” goes beyond situation. It’s something deeper. A personality-trait of sorts.
“It is what it is” equals flexibility.
For instance, I have two very different shades of pink for daughters.
My first-born, an academic/artistic sort, hasn’t given me a fraction of near-heart attacks in her 31?2 years as her daredevil sister has in her 18 months.
But it is what it is.
Despite their different personalities, both girls have already had black eyes. Ironic, right?
And yet, my oldest got a black eye from tripping while my youngest got hers from a determined stunt to retrieve a remote from an end table.
It is what it is.
(If they didn’t both have their daddy’s nose, I would almost swear they weren’t related.)
We all have our encounters with “It is what it is.” There are many situations where flexibility is key.
But, there are situations where the it-is-what-it-is mantra can be dangerous.
When we start believing we can’t change anything, we lose our drive to live and thrive.
Let’s apply this theory to parenting.
Sure, I can laugh about my ornery little girl. But does that mean I have to also accept her disobedience? Does that mean I can’t harness her in a little so that her adventurous spirit is constructive rather than harmful?
For instance, in the case of her black eye, I had just told her to get down. She didn’t obey, I couldn’t get there fast enough, and she fell. Thus the black eye.
All children have to learn boundaries. As parents, we are in charge of setting those boundaries. We can’t expect our children to automatically do what is right. Children will keep pushing and pushing until something bad happens.
And even then, they might not learn. (My daughter went right back to her remote-retrieval mission as soon as her tears abated.)
We all have issues where we refuse to flex. And I think that’s OK.
Like any good thing, there has to be a balance, otherwise the scale will tip too far.
In the case of my column, it is what it is. But in the case of my life, I don’t want to get caught up with using “it is what it is” as a crutch.
There are some things I can (and should) change.