SPEND TIME WITH KIDS is Not on My Checklist
As part of my bullet journal, I make a daily checklist of everything I need to accomplish each day. It’s been awesome for my productivity but I’ve noticed a small side effect that I’m constantly fighting. I rush through activities in my haste to check everything off my list.
For things like cleaning the bathroom, taking out the garbage, and paying bills it’s awesome. For other activities like going for a walk with my kids, it’s not so awesome. Being a present parent is hard enough without mentally checking TIME WITH KIDS off the list, which, for the record, I haven’t put on my list.
Life is Not a Checklist
There is something magical about the long summer days spent watching your kids blow bubbles, play in the sprinkler, and draw with sidewalk chalk. In summer, it’s a chance to enjoy being with them without the schedules, homework, and after-school activities clamoring for attention.
Luckily, I’ve only caught myself rushing through our walks or hurrying through a game of Hungry Hippos a few times this summer because things feel different.
Maybe it’s because my oldest turned twelve and I realize that she only has a few short years at home with us. Or, maybe it’s because I’ve been a mom for twelve years and I’ve gotten more experience.
In my mind, summer has come to represent time with my family and that’s not something I want to check off a list. It’s not a destination is a journey to be enjoyed.
The Slow Moments
There are these little moments of motherhood where it feels like I am in a movie and time has been slowed. It almost seems to stop. I’ll be honest, sometimes motherhood feels like an endurance sport. That is what makes these slow moments stand out; they are such a contrast to many other parenting moments.
For example, the other day I was on a walk with my two boys. My 7-year-old was holding my hand, which he doesn’t do much anymore, chattering away about blackberries and flowers. Suddenly, he turned to me and said, “If I were a bee and I was near you, I wouldn’t sting you. I would buzz near a window so I could see you.”
While it was a funny statement to make, it absolutely melted my heart. His little brother then followed suit and told me he would like to be a bee that watched me through the window as well. Time slowed down as they both held my hands, telling me in their own adorable way that they love me. It was sweet, beautiful and innocent.
Hold the Sweet Moments Close to Your Heart, You’ll Need Them
Write those moments down moms, because those are the precious moments that will get you through the days when your kids won’t stop fighting, whining or crying; as well as the days they are defiant, angry and obstinate.
I wonder if we would notice the special moments if they weren’t so few and far between. When I’m having a hard time dealing with all four of them at the same time, I try to remember at least one good thing each of them has done throughout the day. If I can’t think of one (sometimes that happens) I think about the day before.
If I’m still at a loss, I rely on the precious slow moments that I’ve had with them throughout their lives. I remember discussing with my two girls where we go after this life. The three of us simply talked about what it, what they knew, what I knew, and how they felt about it. I think about rocking my now 4-year-old when he was a baby late into the night, remembering his sweet new baby smell.
I really have to recall that precious moment when I’m cleaning up pee off the bathroom floor, again.
You Can’t Enjoy Every Moment, So Look for the Few
I can’t enjoy everything about summer. There are days that my kids are at each other’s throats all day and it’s all I can do not to sell them to the circus. They complain about what’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as household chores and mowing the lawn.
I have to listen to them try to logically explain how someone sneaked into their room and made it messy while I’m holding a completely folded basket of laundry that they are complaining about putting away. It’s their laundry by the way.
Sadly, there are only a few weeks left of summer vacation. I can choose to focus on how quiet the house will be once school starts, which sometimes I do, or I can choose to let the rest of summer go slow.
I don’t mean a lack of activity but when you are doing fun things like swimming at the lake or staying up late for a movie night, be there. Be present, listen to what your children say, and join in their laughter.
If you are like me and could use an extra month of running through the sprinkler, picking blackberries, riding scooters and blowing bubbles, make the most of the time that you have.
I saw a production of Fiddler on the Roof last night. As I watched the lyrics from Sunrise, Sunset sum it up perfectly.
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness,