So I got a kick to the emotional guts the other day. Monkey looked up at me with her big blue eyes and told me “I miss you Mommy, you never spend time with us anymore.” My knee jerk response was to deny it, say I was around them all the time. But I didn’t, I took a moment to stop and think about it. Really think about it. Was she right? Sure I have recently gone back to work, but I’m part time so I am still home a good bit. And they were home all the time recently due to winter break. My next thought was sure I was around them, but was I spending time with them?
I spent the rest of the night thinking about it. I had a hard time admitting it, even to myself, but she was right. I have taken on a good bit of stuff lately, and had lost the knack of balancing my time and attention. I had taken to sitting at my desk to work on things so I can focus better, and told them to go play while I cook or clean. The next day I came across this article, and it hit me all over again. She was right, 100% right.
Clearly my next step was to figure out how to fix it. I am still learning this part. But I am gonna share it with you anyway. Why? Because these small people in our lives, the ones that call us mom, are our greatest Sidekicks. And one of the greatest things we can do is connect with them and enjoy being with them. Enjoy who they are, as much for ourselves as for them. We all win when we connect. It’s over whelming at first to try and work more closely with them, and to spend more time with them. I have 4 Sidekicks, and they all want a piece of my time and attention. But I knew I had to figure it out.
What I have learned so far is that the more time I do spend with them the easier it gets. The next day I bought us a new game to play, I dug out the Uno deck, and we played and laughed together. We had silly dance time. I have started making time for them when I can put things off, and when I can’t put things off I am learning to find ways to include them. I enlist them to help with housework, I make them my chef helpers in the kitchen. This gives me the chance to spend time with them and teach them how to cook and keep house. When I need to go out I take them with me on my errands. Not only do I take them with me, I have started trying to make them a part of what I am doing. I talk it out with them. I have even used this as a chance to start teaching about things like organizing errand routes, budgeting and effective grocery shopping. I started crocheting on the couch while we watch movies, I bring my jewelry projects out to the kitchen table while they do homework or work on their own crafts. I can do my computer time while they are at school or after they go to bed.
The other added benefit is when I do just need some time to myself they are better about respecting, because they are sure in the fact that when the time runs out I will rejoin them. Does this complicate my life? Yeah, a little bit. But it is worth it. It isn’t an easy thing to start, but I am loving it. We have fun, and I get to know these wonderful little people better. We are becoming closer.
Now I encourage you to do the same, if you aren’t already. Sure there are times we have to take them out and about with us, but is there a way we can make them feel included? Are there tasks you do that you can include them in? Teaching them housework slows things down at first, but once they get the hang of things it can shorten the work time, and if you are like us and put on music, or joke around, it can be fun too. Are there things you can do later to make time to do something with them now?