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Lessons from the Potty

May 19, 2009

You can do it, Princess!
When is it truly the right time to do something or be someone? Do you find that often we push ourselves so hard to accomplish a goal or make a change that the result is just not what we expected? This became clear to me earlier this year when my daughter (finally!) became a potty queen! But, boy, did it take a while!
 
I always remember reading in toddler magazines and hearing from my relatives and friends that girls learn to potty much quicker than boys. Our first child was a boy, and it was no easy task, but he got it done just in time for Pre-K 3.  So, I was ready and expecting tremendous success from my simply fabulous little Princess, but when the results of our efforts failed, we felt like failures too. Were our expectations of her too high? Did she sense that from us and set herself up for failure? Neither, I believe.
 
What I did realize soon after she made it happen was that it had absolutely nothing to do with me, my husband, or anyone else’s expectations of her. It did, though, have everything to do with her expectations of herself and her state of readiness. It was truly a powerful lesson for us all.
 
We tried everything to get her to potty—all the tricks in the book.  Nope…they did not work! My daughter simply was not ready. She would tell me “No, Mom, I’m not ready,” but I just didn’t listen. I stuck with “the plan” hoping for a turn-a-round. After realizing none of the plans or tricks were working, we all just simply gave in and gave up. I thought to myself, “Maybe she really isn’t ready.” I let it be, and I also forgave myself for not being successful “like all the other mommies were.”
 
It was at 4 ½ that she finally drummed up the courage to go potty. In fact, she was so courageous about it that she didn’t tell anyone. She simply walked confidently into the bathroom one afternoon, sat on the toilet, did her business, and even cleaned up after herself. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. But, more than ecstatic, I was proud. Proud that I didn’t continue to push her to be “like all the others”; proud that I finally listened to her telling us she wasn’t ready; and most of all, proud of her for knowing when it was the right time FOR HER to be successful at this task.
 
This experience taught me a lot about parenting, but it also shed some light on how we push ourselves consistently to do this and that and achieve this and that because we feel it is necessary, mandatory or expected of us. I believe this is a lesson of truly listening to ourselves and learning to know the feeling we feel when “now is the right time.”
 
Reflecting upon this, I can see, too, how I forced certain things to happen in my life, perhaps to prove to myself that I could do it, yet it truly wasn’t the right move for me or the right time to make the move. I can also tell you that I knew these things deep down but chose not to acknowledge them.
 
Is it okay not to listen to our inner voice—to be rebellious with ourselves and push forward? Sure! Every action provides learning, and life is all about learning. However, is it better to sit with ourselves for a while and weigh our options prior to moving forward? I would argue, yes, the effort you put in may reap greater rewards.
 
We can also look at ourselves as managers of others in these situations. Is what we are asking of others unrealistic? Are the right people on the bus in the right seats? Especially during tough fiscal times many individuals are being asked to take on more work, and work that they normally would not be assigned because it may not be in their field of training or related to one of their skill sets or strengths. How far can we push others to get the results we feel or are being told are necessary? Perhaps, during these times, our best role as managers is to really listen and help teach others how to better listen to and know what their inner voice is saying to them. If they do, I believe we may find greater levels of creativity, excitement, communication, and productivity in the work place despite the economy woes.
 
They say that the only constant is change. I agree with this. And because change is constant it makes perfect sense that a goal we want to achieve today may not be possible until six months or six years from now. And, because everything is constantly changing, so are we as human beings. So what does this mean? It means that even if a goal we have is not doable until six months from now, when six months rolls around we may not even want to, or need to achieve that goal any longer. If we are not keenly in touch with our inner voice, we may put that goal into action (just because we said we would) without the desire, proper backing, enthusiasm or support to achieve success.
 
Recently, I took a quiz in Facebook that was created by our Marketing Team in FIU’s  College of  Business to assess one’s ability to come up with creative business ideas and solutions. It’s called Uncommon Thinkers, and if you use Facebook, you can find it here: http://apps.facebook.com/uncommonthinkers/?ref=nf.  If anything, take it for fun. That, it is!
 
I took this quiz over a year ago when the college launched its Uncommon Thinkers campaign. At that time, it showed me as being a “creative thinker”. This time, it showed me as being a “risk taker”.  Funny enough, scanning my life over the last year or so, it couldn’t have been more right. I would have never tagged myself as a risk taker, but in my life today, I have become quite the risk taker, and it feels good because I know the timing is right to take some bold moves. Just as my daughter clearly conveyed to us that she was not ready, I have clearly conveyed to myself that I am ready for change and risk. What about you? Do you have similar experiences you can share?
 
Embrace change…know thyself well…and push forward on your goals when your inner voice says “go now”.
 
Much success today and always,
Monique Renee Catoggio, MBA
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2 Responses to “Lessons from the Potty”

  1. liza Says:

    “Change is constant” is so true. Change and our children really test our inner strength and teach us in ways that we never knew they would. Sometimes the change in you is a person that we don’t understand and care to be. But eventually, we get back to our old selves. Way to hang in there with your little princess.

  2. Mom Says:

    She is so perfect and we all have learned a lesson from our beautiful and intelligent darling.


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