I meant to have a whole lot more written and posted on this blog by now, but I’ve been a bit busy…
Busy being a mom.
Just a mom.
Been busy chasing butterflies
Hanging out at the library (and trying to help my kids understand that when people say ‘shh,’ they mean it)
Been busy playing shadow tag and hopscotch on warm evenings
And reminding them to please take their homemade popsicles outside so they won’t drip on the floor I just mopped
Then showing them where the rags and Windex are so they can clean up the mess they just made on that very same floor
Busy being a mom
Quizzing times tables and teaching the eleven times tables, always my favorite
Trying to explain that juice is not soda, and restraining myself from too long a monologue of what a balanced diet is
Busy finding the balance between cleaning up after them and having them do it themselves … and sometimes just leaving the house as it is
Busy being a mom
Singing along with the Veggie Tales intro, and waking up with silly songs running through my head
Busy worrying about them at times, wondering what more I can or should do to be a better parent
Praying that they will stay healthy, happy
Busy reading them stories
And hearing their own
Quoting them bedtime stories at breakfast (because I forgot the night before)
And kissing them goodnight, right before they fall asleep
And afterwards too
Busy being a mom
And wondering how it is they grow out of things so fast
And standing at the foot of the slide, saying, ‘come on,’ you can do it.’
Busy holding the kite string while they run off to play with something else
Busy being a mom
Explaining concepts I doubt they’ll grasp
And hiding my surprise when they ask an even deeper question
And they understand the answer to that one too
Or offer their own answers when I say ‘I have no idea’
Busy wondering if they’ll ‘always need me for everything’
Hoping they’ll always need me for something
Thinking about my own mother and realizing children, no matter how old, do always need their parents
I enjoy writing
I love writing about and to parents
about our children and the joys of parenthood
But if ever you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s because I’m busy
Busy being a mom
This morning I saw a comment from an acquaintance on Facebook, about the upcoming summer break and having more time with her children. I followed the discussion thread, which got a little heated because of the variety of responses by mothers. A homeschooling mother was looking forward to summer for different reasons than her counterpart whose children go to school. Some mothers didn’t seem to be looking forward to the summer. One admitted there were times when she didn’t necessarily “like” her children, especially when they’re all at home. Another mother responded with, “How can you expect others to like them if you don’t like them?”
Yes, it was a little heated. After all, summer is around the corner.
Last week I did my finals for the semester. Tomorrow is my kids’ last day at school. I spent some time this week just thinking about and trying to plan for summer. Due to the busyness of the semester and other things going on at home and with my family, I feel that I’ve lost ground in my relationship with my children.
One of them has been going through a phase that is lasting longer than I expected. I’m starting to fear that it is turning into a perspective on life rather than a stage. This worries me because it has to do with having a “can’t do” mindset about things.
I know that, as a mother, my first responsibility this summer is to my children … as it always is. If one of them is going through something and it’s coming out through their words and outlook on life, it needs attention.
There are plenty of other things going on. I’m teaching courses for the first time in my life (and for a woman who still struggles with social anxiety, this is a huge thing. I’m shaking in my boots and though excited I’m asking myself, What on earth did I get into?)
As soon as I drove away from campus last Thursday after finals, my mind started racing ahead to everything I can read this summer, everything that I hope to write … and then skipped over to home improvement projects. My sister and her kids moved out this last weekend, so with the kids’ room changes, I have more than a little bit of cleaning and organizing to do.
I had to stop myself. I want the kids to enjoy their summer. A few years ago, I made a comprehensive (and overly ambitious) summer plan. Needless to say, we accomplished maybe one item on it. This summer, although I worked on a schedule of sorts, I tried to leave it a lot more flexible this time around.
I know they’re eager to swim this summer. After all, it’s Fresno and temperatures are already pushing past 100. (And I’m hoping that swimming will make up for my lack of exercise during the first five months of this year.) We’ll have chores and a Bible class before swimming/activity time, which will knock two things off my mental “teach-my-children” list.
Cleaning up after themselves, with the three of them living in the same room over the past year, has slid more than a little bit. Having chore time together will help us begin on the right note.
Bible class time is another thing that drifted to the back burner, during school days and even some weekends. That is one thing I need to keep as a priority. I know what grace and patience and faith my times with God grant me and I want my children to experience something of the same.
That’s the general idea of our schedule, at least the most important things: fun, faith, and family. I have a few other ideas/ projects/ hopes for the summer, but need to wait until I’ve had time to discuss them with the kids and see what they are hoping for.
So overall, if the discussion hadn’t already been so heated, I think I would say I’m looking forward to the summer. I’m excited about spending more time with my kids. I know there will be challenges – sibling disputes, messes left around, uninspired moments – but the prospects far outweigh any difficulties. After all, it’s a whole season of fun and sun and crazy-excited kids with the world ahead of them. What could be better?
What are your plans this summer? Do you go on vacation? Relax at the poolside? Tackle a family project? Please leave your thoughts and input below. We can share ideas about how to make this a great summer for both parents and children.
Tags: childhood, children, life lessons, loving your children, moments, motherhood, parenting, perception, positive, positive parenting, school is ending, siblings, summer days, summer ideas with kids, time, what are you doing this summer
In the past few months I’ve had a number of ideas for short posts on parenting. Lots of stuff has been happening in my kids’ lives, and in mine. I even started writing a few times, but nothing felt right. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s seeing other mothers with elaborate websites, thousands of followers and hundreds of comments, their parenting mission seeming very clear and successful.
And I look at myself, trying to keep a basic grasp on being a mom in the midst of school, work, writing, and a myriad of random and sometimes very time-consuming (and mentally or emotionally exhausting) issues that arise on any given day.
The other day I was trying to work on an editing project and couldn’t focus because Aiden had gone up to about 75 decibels with his fire truck noises and Allen was describing to Jessica his idea for a new Tigger movie (and she was telling him exactly how it should really be done). I finally told them, “Guys, go play in the backyard so I can focus.” Of course as soon as they went out there, I wished I could join them. I turned back to my editing and still couldn’t focus because I felt guilty for having lost my patience with them.
It’s not their fault their room doubles as my “office.” I know more space would not necessarily be the answer. That’s the problem, I guess. I don’t really have all the answers. The answers on how to be an awesome parent. … Or I do know some answers but fail to implement them.
Maybe I am approaching it the wrong way, looking at things like the negative of a photo. Thinking I see a picture, but the colors are inverted so that light is dark. So dark. Maybe it is not that I should be trying so hard to be the mom sometimes, but to be more of a child.
We read a poem by Robert Frost in my English class today, about a man thinking of tree climbing (among other things). We talked about nostalgia and happy childhoods and looking back over these times with an element of longing and perhaps regret.
I am not a child anymore, but my kids are. And perhaps I should be that more too … by just being rather than trying so hard. By climbing a tree or playing shadow tag, blowing bubbles or sitting down on the floor and building a stack of colorful blocks right up to the sky. Maybe then I won’t have to worry about looking back with regret and longing, knowing I made the most of every moment.
All that to say, I’m going to try to begin posting in here again, if nothing else to keep some sort of track of my days as a mom of three young (and rather awesome) kids. I’ll try to post some things by other moms too, whose books I’ve read or am reading, and who capture the essence of motherhood so much better than I can.
If you’ve read any good books or seen a great quote on parenting, please share it in the comment section below. Or if you have any other thoughts you want to share on parenting, I’d love to hear from you.
On my other blog, I posted my New Year’s resolutions.
The first one is:
Disconnect to Reconnect
In Colorado, I saw a neat little flyer. It stood out to me. It said, “There is no wi-fi in nature. But we’re sure you’ll find a better connection.”
As I’ve been praying about the New Year, I feel that I should to take a break from blogging and Facebooking. I’ve heard it takes about six weeks to build a new habit or to break an old one. So I’ll be going offline at the beginning of the year, for roughly 40 days, to disconnect from some things in order to connect (or reconnect) with others … and hopefully regain perspective of the most important things.
Wishing you and your children a wonderful New Year! Enjoy it together with them. They grow up so fast. I heard from a friend whose children are grown, and he spent Christmas alone. I told him that I’m dreading the day when my kids are “all growed up.”
So, in this New Year, I wish you deep and wonderful connections with your children, whether they are grown or still children. A few suggestions for resolutions this year:
Give them the gift of time.
Enjoy life by slowing down and seeing it through their eyes.
Smile, laugh, and hug.
Reason with the faith of a child.
I look forward to writing and connecting with you all again soon. Happy New Year!
I have a baby who’s going to be 7 months soon and I will have to get back to work from the next month. So she will be at a daycare. Can I still be a great mother and influence her positively and have a great bond with my child?
That’s a great question, and an important one, too. It is true that there is no one like Mommy (and Daddy) when it comes to understanding, pouring into, and raising your child.
However, if you’re asking that question, I think you’ll do just fine, and your daughter will too. Some parents’ mindsets might be, “I’m finally going to be able to go back to work and leave the kid with someone else for a little while! Freedom!!!”
Just the fact that you are concerned about your connection with your daughter, and her ability to continue to learn, is a great thing! It shows that you are a good mother and well on your way to raising a wonderful child as well.
If you’re looking to teach a child as young as your daughter is (seven months), all you need is a little bit of time. At that age, and up to a few years old, children can’t sit still for long and like a lot of excitement and variety. Five to ten minutes of educational input at different times throughout the day is plenty. If you have time before you head out to drop her off and go to work, you can take a bit of time then, and you’ll also hopefully be free to have some focused time with her once you both get home.
I was facing a similar situation recently, in trying to decide whether to put my children in school, or keep them at home with me and educate them at home. There were quite a few other things going on in my life, and as such, I knew I wouldn’t be available to teach them well, as well as focus on the other things that they would need too—physical education, fun, moral and spiritual training, etc. I felt guilty though. As their mom, I wished I could be available to “do it all.” I talked to a friend of mine, an experienced father, and he gave some good advice:
The key word you’re looking for is quality rather than quantity. Some parents might be at home all day with their children, but they’re busy with their own things and just sit the kids in front of the TV or computer all day and never work to build a connection or give them positive input. It’s a big waste of that time because the younger a child is, the more of a sponge he or she is. Kids love attention, activities, and learning through those very things. If all you have is a bit of time at the beginning of the day and some more towards the end of the day, focus on them during that time. Let that be the best time of your day. It might not always be easy to make it so, but your kids deserve the best you have. Maybe they won’t get the most of your time, but they can still have the best of your time, and that’s what is important.
I remember reading a story of a boy whose dad gave him something special for Christmas: a promise of an hour every day after he got home from work. That hour belonged to the boy. He could choose to play ball outside, or read a story together, or work on a project. The father renewed the promise every Christmas, and the boy said it was the best gift he ever received—the gift of time. The father didn’t have all day, every day, but he gave him quality time.
In summary: yes, you can be a great mother even if your daughter goes to day care. Actually, something tells me you probably already are a great mother. Keep it up!