Parenting Truths: “Bit-By-Bit” Will Make You Miserable
The phrase “do a little bit at a time” is a good concept. It sounds like it would be beneficial. Rather than stacking all your tasks up and losing an entire day to them, so the conventional wisdom goes, you do a bit every day to the point you don’t notice you’re doing them. It’s perfect. Your life is now more organized and ordered than you ever thought it would be.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but – sometimes, doing a bit at a time just plain doesn’t work. In fact, it can make life more difficult. Rather than blitzing your tasks and then having blissful days when your to-do list is empty, the time spreading out in front of you just waiting to be filled, you give yourself a grind every day of your life. There are some tasks that work well when done bit-by-bit; cleaning being a primary example. But others, such as parenting, just aren’t a good fit.
Reason #1: Parenting Doesn’t Stop
As a busy parent, you probably don’t need telling that the process never ends. That’s part of the pleasure of it, of course – but it can make life difficult. If do a bit every day, you effectively find yourself running on a treadmill of perpetual motion. On that treadmill, you’re carrying a heavy load, which is just going to keep getting added to.
You can’t catch up; there is no point at which you can run with your arms outstretched like you did when you were a kid. The only way of coping with parenting is to have dedicated days where you try and conquer your to-do list in one fell swoop. You then have to do the additional things that crop up on a day-by-day basis. It’s not a case of either/or – it’s about managing your time so you can do both.
Reason #2: Everything Changes
While the dream might be to go to a baby show and grab everything you’re going to need in one go, a sensible parent acknowledges that’s only round one. Round two is going to involve picking up the daily necessities.
Advice that tells you you don’t need to give over some portions of your time to being absorbed only in parent-related tasks is, to be frank, lying to you. The only way you can control your time is to know you have to do a combination of both occasional blasts and regular maintenance. Things change too quickly; you can’t cover everything you need to buy at a show and then forget about it. You’re still going to need to grab items – from diapers to baby wipes and through to school supplies when they’re older – on the hop.
Reason #3: The “Bit-By-Bit” Approach Just Makes You Stressed
If you employ the bit-by-bit approach, eventually, you’re going to feel overwhelmed. There’s too much to do, too much to be aware of, and you can’t possibly cover it as part of the general maintenance of running a home and your life. Yet conventional wisdom tells you it’s possible – so, of course, it’s not long before the feeling of failure begins to sink in. Why is everyone else managing this daily strategy, never needing to give over a huge chunk of time to resolving parenting-related issues – but you can’t?
Well, neither can anyone else. You’ve got this. Give yourself a break, acknowledge occasionally things will pile up to the point of needing a full day to resolve – and make the best of the time you have in between.