This is a Daily Moment—short perspectives on life and times through a dad’s eye.
Outside my kids’ school, there’s a sign that says, “No idling, children breathing.”
It’s a good reminder that if you’re sitting there in your car, waiting to pick up your children, be aware that other kids are walking by, and that white smoke blowing out of your tailpipe isn’t exactly good for them. Despite the sign, every day there’s cars lined up, parents sitting inside idling, kids walking by sucking exhaust.
But apart from that, these same words can be flipped to reflect another reality of being a parent: That feeling that we can’t idle, that we always have to be in motion to keep our kids, and our families, and ourselves moving forward. Cooking, cleaning, commuting, working, exercising, shopping—there’s always something to do. Don’t stop. Don’t idle. There are children breathing here, and they need you. It’s exhausting.
But there’s something else about breathing children: they’re actually quite resilient. And while I don’t advocate for having them suck on exhaust pipes, a little smoke won’t kill them.
It’s also important that us dads and moms take a rest when it’s needed. Your kids will survive, and they’ll benefit from the extra energy you’ve gained. It’s about balance. So, when you have to go, go. But take time to idle when you need to.
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