Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ten-minute Rule

I LIVE by a 10-minute rule. I started doing it about 35 years ago, when I was still a new mom and a new artist. There were so many things to remember, and so many things to do. I couldn't slow down – I didn't want to slow down. But I wanted to quit kicking myself every time I did a stupid thing or said something I regretted.

LIKE the time I bought a new black velvet gown and thought I looked great in it – until my 6-year old daughter informed me that I had it on backwards.

OR THE 1st time I made pesto from my garden and accidentally picked sage instead of basil, not realizing my mistake until serving dinner to eight women.

OH, THE LIST goes on and on. Believe me. And these are the funny ones. There were many times I could have been kinder, more frugal, a better parent. One time my daughter Renny kept asking me to bake her a cake and I kept waving her away – I'm painting! Turns out it was her birthday.

I DON'T believe in guilt. But there was often a  nagging feeling I shouldn't let myself off the hook quite so easily. One day, reading a book, I learned about the 10-minute Rule. It's a 2-part rule.

1. If there's nothing you can do: You are allowed 10 minutes to wallow in any negative emotion (anger, embarrassment, jealousy, you know them) . After 10 minutes is up- forget and move on. Period.

2. If there is something you can do (like apologizing, or re-doing the background on a painting): You must make a firm appointment in your head to do so, and then you can wallow for 10 minutes. Period.

IT TAKES practice. And it gets easier. There are times now when I don't even need the 10 minutes. But then I really mess up again, and I want to kick myself. But I don't. Instead, I remember my kids looking at an imaginary watch on their wrist, rolling their eyes and saying, "Oh Mom, You are way over your 10 minutes."


  1. This is tender and hilarious. So human. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lol, good one. I really like the birthday one. I was looking for the top 10 insults blog you mentioned, but found this.