Almost everything can wait

There’s a weird duality about time and kids.

On the one hand, parenting young kids requires that a lot of things happen at very specific times. My baby has been having some truly stupendous poops lately. When his diaper has just experienced a poop volcano, his diaper needs to be changed. Now. When my preschooler had a meltown about misplacing his treasured green shoelace/snake/seaweed/whathaveyou on the last day of school before winter break, he needed some emotion coaching. Right then. These kinds of situations are emergent and urgent.

On the other hand, parenting young kids means there is a fluidity about time. My preschooler actually took time this year appreciating the presents he got for Christmas. As a result, he didn’t end up opening all his Christmas presents on Christmas Day. And who cares, really? They will be there tomorrow. The point is to enjoy them, not to tear open the wrapping paper on a specific day. On Christmas night, after the kids were asleep, I realized I never took a timer-aided photo of the four of us that day. Oh well. The day after Christmas (or the day after that) is close enough, isn’t it?

Before I had kids, I think I had these categories flipped in my mind. I thought so many things — like holidays and presents and my career — had to be JUST SO and RIGHT NOW. Conversely, I thought it was ok to be flexible about the basic care and feeding of myself. Now I see that so much of what I thought was urgent really, truly, can wait. And the rest…well, it could wait.

But it shouldn’t.

Almost everything can wait

Published by Emily P.G. Erickson

Emily P.G. Erickson is a writer with a master's degree in psychology. Her service journalism and personal essays about mental health, mindfulness, and motherhood have appeared in The New York Times, WIRED, Romper, Elemental, and elsewhere. You can find the latest from Emily at

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