Monthly Archives: July 2012
Before I became a parent, I would have to admit that thought crossed my mind more than once in regards to parenting.
But just because a parents’ time isn’t all theirs anymore doesn’t necessarily mean they “have no life.”
Just because we draw blanks when you ask what we do when we’re not with our kids doesn’t mean we have no life.
It just means that our kids are our life.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Tell me, how often do you have a guy run up to you with a hug every time he sees you?
Or give you kisses on your eyes, nose, eyebrows, cheeks, chin and ears?
How often do you get a guy to say he loves you as much as mother Mary loved baby Jesus?
How often do you have a girl willing to share with you all her secrets?
So I might be so wiped by the end of the day that I don’t even check my mail.
And I might be so swamped that if I complete 15% of the items on my to-do list, it’s a good day.
But I do have a life.
More than that, I have a legacy, because children are the hope of the future.
Nothing can beat that life.
It wasn’t really my idea.
It was my mom’s idea.
Well, it was her chair, actually.
It had been sitting in her backyard for years, probably serving as a perch for some of her plants.
But she was moving it on, and asked if I wanted it before she placed it on freecycle.
Of course I did! I pictured sanding it down and letting my husband varnish it and do the finishing touches.
Then I had a second thought.
What about turning it into a summer project with my daughter?
I knew she’d be more than happy to help.
And she was.
She claimed the seating area as hers to work on.
I showed her how to sand it down as we spent a couple sessions sanding.
Then I showed her that steel wool is similar to sandpaper, in that you still have to follow the grain of the wood as you smooth it down.
The wood burning was my mom’s idea too, and, as Jessica couldn’t help with that part, she had a blast taking pictures of me as I worked on it.
Her favorite part was “painting” the chair with shellac.
After it dried, we smoothed it down one last time with steel wool and brushed it with a second coat.
We presented it to my husband upon his return and she cheerfully informed her dad that she had done part of it “all by herself.”
I knew that letting her help with it had been the right decision.
I asked her, a few days later, if she learned anything interesting from the project. “Make sure you know which way the wind is blowing before you start to sand.”
Hey, you never know when information like that might come in handy.
So, as I mentioned in a recent post, it had been a rough couple of weeks with my youngest.
He’s in the stage of testing his limits (and my patience – quite effectively, in fact).
Whether I put something as a question, a request, or an order, his response has been the same. (And just to let you know, it’s not “Yes mommy”).
Now let me clarify before anyone thinks I’m raising a little “lomster” (my kids’ word for both lobster and monster).
If my requests/orders were along the lines of, “Let’s have school together,” or “Let’s read a book together” or “Do you want to do a puzzle with me?” Or “It’s time to wash the dishes with mommy,” he would come running.
He loves anything that includes one-on-one time with mommy and input. He reminds me a bit of Number Johnny 5 – more input!
Therein rests the problem, and an inner struggle I face daily.
I’d love to be a 100 percent, full-time mommy.
But I’m not.
I’m a work-at-home mom. I love my kids. I enjoy my work too. But finding the correct balance on a daily basis – when you have deadlines on one side of the scales, and kids on the other – is a challenge.
Actually, that’s an understatement. Sometimes it’s downright tough.
And I know it’s not just me who faces it. These days, there are more work-at-home moms and dads than ever before. And even for those who don’t “work,” they’re still working. There’s always something to do – if it’s not deadlines, it’s dishes, laundry, shopping, or maintaining a blog (ahem).
(For the record, I write most of my blog posts on my phone while either putting my son down for his daily nap or while watching them in the pool and working up the courage to dive into the cold water.)
So how do we, as parents in this modern and ever so busy world, maintain the right balance (and at least a measure of sanity)?
How do we fulfill our most important responsibility and calling to teach and train up the upcoming generation as well as keep up with everything else?
Well, you’re not going to find all the answers within this blog post (which is why I’m writing a book on this same topic – it’s in the works!), but for starters, love your kids.
I know you love them already, like crazy.
But remember it, in the craziness of the hectic days you live in.
Love them, and make sure they know you love them.
More than the to-do’s and the work.
Give them the best of your time, as often as you can.
This will help them to more easily accept the times you might be too busy to spend as much time with them as they would like
Invite them into your life.
Making dinner? Let them peel the carrots or wash the potatoes.
Doing laundry? Let them sort the colors or hand you the clothes pins.
Trying to meet a deadline? Let them know and ask them to pray for you…or celebrate with them once you’ve met it.
The instant he opens his eyes, I know he’s going to ask me to take him swimming, or to read him a book, or play cars with him.
I also know he doesn’t fathom the fifty pages I need to edit by the end of the day, or the reason mommy seems impatient and busy sometimes.
All he knows is that I’m his mom. And I’m his friend too (he told me so himself).
I think, when he wakes up, I’ll try to be just that.
I glanced at the clock.
Guests would be coming somewhere between two and three in the afternoon, for swimming and celebrating July 4th. In the meantime, I needed to clean the house and prepare the food.
My daughter had volunteered to help with the dusting, so after we read a story together, I told her where the dusting cloths were as I headed to the kitchen.
Nine peeled potatoes later, I went to check on her.
She reclined on the couch, an open book in her hands.
“Did you dust yet?” I asked, completely aware of her response.
She looked up at me, a little worried. “No.”
I clenched my teeth, trying not to get annoyed. Doesn’t she realize we don’t have all day?
“What are you waiting for?”
“You.” She smiled.
“I’m not dusting with you. I’m working in the kitchen. I have food to prepare.”
She sat forward. Her eyes lit up. “You are?”
I groaned inwardly. I had been planning to do some baking with my daughter over the summer, but not today.
Today I was on a deadline.
Today the food needed to taste good.
It just wasn’t the opportune time to be cooking with a child.
Hold on! What on earth was I thinking?
The answer was obvious.
“I was in the middle of making potato salad. It needs to get in the fridge early so it can get cold before the afternoon. Want to help?”
“Sure!” She jumped up, forgetting about her book for the moment as she eagerly followed me into the kitchen.
We finished making the potato salad together.
“Is there anything else to do?”
I had been hemming and hawing about whether or not to attempt a dessert. Why not?
“You want to make a pie with me?”
“Really?” When seeing the excitement in her eyes at such a simple thing, I wondered why I hadn’t done this earlier.
After placing the pie in the fridge, she went on to dust while I washed the dishes. She even asked me for Windex and started washing the glass door leading to the balcony.
By the way, the food wasn’t just good. It was perfect.