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The 24 Buts Of Parenting Purgatory
Issue #28 of The Two But Rule
Last week, I told you about how I fixed a fan in my house in six buts…ok, it was eight buts. Check it out.
This week, let’s try something a little more ambitious. Here we go:
I have to take my ten year old to gymnastics practice three nights a week, three hours a night. There’s nobody nearby to carpool with, and there’s nothing to do there but sit in a crappy metal chair and contemplate oblivion.
Intention: Make better use of the time in gymnastics parent purgatory.
But it’s hard to get anything useful done there, because it’s the end of the day, I’m tired, and it’s easy to wind up just talking to the other suffering parents until it’s over. BUT I could bring noise canceling headphones and put on some soothing music to get into the zone for productive work on my laptop.
But so far that hasn’t worked, because I get talking to the parents before I put the headphones on, BUT I could put them on before I go in.
But so far that hasn’t become a habit, because again, I’m tired and not really in the mood at that moment to get into more work after a whole day of work. BUT maybe it’s safe to drop my kid off and go home.
But it’s 30 minutes to get there from my house, which is a lot of gas and time wasted to go there and back twice each night. BUT I could go hang out at a local Starbucks.
But now that just breathing the air in a Starbucks will set you back $10, it could get expensive going there every night. BUT I could go there and not order anything most of the time.
But I’m not comfortable with sitting for hours every night at a Starbucks without buying something. BUT I could start driving for Uber and take a few rides after I drop the kid off until I’ve made enough to offset the cost of a Grande Latte.
But I’m pretty sure I’d blow through my productivity time picking up enough Uber rides to pay for Starbucks. BUT there are other free “third places” that I could go, including the houses of friends who live near the gym.
But imposing on friends three nights a week isn’t something I want to do. BUT it’s a great idea to use some of these evenings to spend 2.5 hours with friends who live out past the gym, who I rarely see because of the distance. (Action That!)
But I still need a “third place” for most nights, and I notice from all this that a key part of the problem is my brain fatigue at that time of day. BUT then why not join a gym nearby? I can look into that, and I need to get in better shape anyway.
But if I’m honest, I still feel better about staying at gymnastics most nights, because I’m a shameless helicopter parent. BUT I could propose to the owners of the gymnastics center some kind of fitness program for the parents. (Crazy but … Quick note: I mentioned this to them, and they are actually working on something like this. Wow.)
OR! I could get the new Apple Vision Pros--the cool virtual reality headsets that cost a whopping $3,500 and look like a pair of ski googles. I could put them on before going into the gym. That would give me my virtual third place and allow me to block out all distractions. I’m definitely the sort of tech nerd that would shamelessly walk into a public place with a contraption on my head. Truth--I was looking for an excuse to get these anyway, and if they save me going to Starbucks 350 times, they’ll pay for themselves! (Action That!)
But the chairs at the gym still suck, BUT I could bring my own comfy chair with me.
But a comfy chair usually means a bulky chair that I couldn’t easily lug with me. BUT maybe I can find an amazing portable chair at REI or someplace (Action That!). OR maybe I can get the gym to create a special area with theater seating for parents that are willing to pay extra. Worth asking. (Crazy business idea.)
Ok, so those sound like a few good options, and it gives me an argument I’ve been looking for to convince my wife that she should let me buy a freakishly expensive Apple product. That’s a win!
To sum it up, applying the Two But Rule provided several solutions, several actions, and a few crazy new business ideas in twenty-four buts. #24Buts. Not bad!
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