Micro-Stress and the School Run

Bad parenting

SG Buckley


I read something interesting today: “Stress comes to us all in tiny little assaults throughout our day — what we call “micro-stresses. And it’s coming from sources you might never have considered.”

Oh, I’ve considered them.

Take my morning:

It started off cheery enough. I’m singing in the kitchen as I make coffee, toast and grits (yes, grits). I yell upstairs to my daughter to say I’ve composed a song called “grits and toast” and, really, she doesn’t want to miss it.

She misses it.

By the time she gets downstairs, I’m done singing, the grits and toast are cold, and she has exactly 10 minutes to eat, brush her teeth, find her sports jersey, tie up her hair, make her bed and be out the door.

(Score: 50%. Sports jersey is missing; no tied up hair or bed made).

Yesterday, our car failed its MOT (annual car safety test in the UK), meaning we have no car for two days and must spend hundreds of pounds to fix things I didn’t know were in a car.

My daughter is still getting ready when I look outside to see her ride is waiting, a neighborhood dad and father of a classmate. I open the front door, while yelling upstairs that they’re here.

She doesn’t appear, but the dog does and he bolts out the door. Suddenly, fast as a shot, my daughter races out too, with no shoes on. She and her classmate are now chasing our dog around the neighborhood. I finally get the classmate to run inside our house, and the dog follows.

It’s 7:12 am. The bus leaves in three minutes. If the dad ignores the speed limit and speed bumps, and the bus driver waits, they might just make it. I wave goodbye and slam the front door.

That’s when British Airways calls to say I still need to pay £416 to change an airline ticket, as the card I used the day before got rejected. She puts me on hold.

While I’m waiting, my daughter (now on her bus) breaks through the line to say she left her sports bag in the neighbor’s car, and will miss her netball tryout. (Netball is like basketball but no dribbling).



SG Buckley

Writer, editor, parent. Former staffer at Quartz, WSJ and Inc. magazine.