How Parenting is like Commuting

May 30, 2011 at 8:23 pm Leave a comment

New research confirms what we all intuitively know about commuting: it’s not good for us, especially the 180-minute extreme commutes that some people experience each day.

It got me thinking how a long commute is something that has a very simple solution, but not necessarily an easy one.  In fact, there are two simple solutions to a long commute:  you can change where you work or you can change where you live.  

But these simple solutions can be nearly impossible to implement.

Maybe there’s no available housing near the job, or it’s too expensive.

Maybe each person in a couple works in opposite directions from where they live.

Maybe there’s no closer job for the taking.

So when a person complains about her commute, she’s probably not looking for these simple solutions.  (“Quit my job? Now why didn’t I think of that?!?”)  Instead, she just wants someone to listen as she complains.  Maybe offer a little tweak to her current plan, like trying exit 54 B instead of 54 A.  Mostly she wants someone to commiserate with, so share your story about getting stuck on 95 for four hours in a snow storm after drinking about a gallon of iced coffee.  Maybe that will make her daily traffic battle seem not so bad.

Parenting problems are a lot like a bad commute.  And when a parent complains about something, she’s usually not looking for a simple solution, either.  (“Get rid of my kid?  Now why didn’t I think of that?”)  Instead, she wants someone to listen.  She might want to tweak what she’s doing, like reading 4 books during the bedtime routine instead of 3.  But mostly she wants to commiserate, so go ahead and share your story about your sweet angel vomiting in your bed five times in one night.  Maybe that will make her parenting challenges seem not so bad.

Not that any of this stops me from giving advice!

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Entry filed under: parenting advice. Tags: , , .

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