There is a concept in physics called entropy, that basically seems to be a mathematic representation of cosmic clutter that results from all sorts of universal activity. In physics, we’re told that entropy always increases.
I’m thinking that there must be a sort of lifestyle entropy out there. No matter what I want to do, there’s always a certain amount of complications that get added to our daily routine. Over time, this builds up to the point where I can barely get through a day.
Here are some examples of what I mean about lifestyle entropy:
Daycare: We enrolled our son in daycare. To keep it simple, we selected one near my office. But we only have one car, so it’s almost a daily negotiation to figure out who is going to need the car that day, and will therefore be the person dropping our son at daycare. It’s getting so challenging that we’ve decided we’re going to have to get another car. The new car will mean more cost, more maintenance, have to clean out the garage, and so on. Entropy increases.
Encouraging exercise: We want our kids to have more physical activity, in the hopes that they will get tuckered out enough to solve our bedtime struggles. So we looked around at different sports activities in our area and hit upon Taekwondo and swimming lessons. All of a sudden we have added five more scheduled things to our weekly calendar with the result that we’re stressed out every afternoon trying to make sure we pick them up in time to get to class. Add to that having significant outfit changes every afternoon. Entropy increases again.
Improving nutrition: While everyone else in America is worried about an epidemic of childhood obesity, my kids are always on the low end of the weight curve, the little one, especially. So in an attempt to get some extra calories and nutrients into them, it was suggested that we have them drink a cup of milk before bedtime. But the little one can’t drink the milk immediately after dinner because she tends to upchuck if too much goes into her tummy in too short a time, so the milk has to happen later on, after we have pajamas on. But milk has sugar so it needs to happen before teethbrushing, and teethbrushing usually happens only under duress of missing out on story time. So complicated!
This isn’t one of those parenting posts where I show that I share the same problem you have and then conclude with the perfect answer to this problem. This is more of a plea for help, I suppose.
Simplicity is on my mind a lot lately. I often feel like there are so many things that would be great habits to instill in our kids, but until they are habits it is a constant push to make them happen.
I want to be the type of parent who can let things take their course and trust they’ll turn out fine. I don’t want to over-engineer my kids’ childhoods. I wish I could just say, screw it. If it happens, it happens. And maybe something even more awesome will happen that I could never have planned for.
The trick is in figuring out how to not do too much.