As a mom, I like to think I put my children first all the time. I don’t mean running myself ragged and never taking care of other needs, but that I spend time with them, nurture them, pay attention to them . . . Sure, I do those things, but not all the time. Especially not lately. For some reason or another, I’ve been “busy” the past few weeks.
We were sick for a couple weeks, which lead to piled up laundry, undone chores and school work, and just general chaos. My six-month-old has been teething and therefore much needier than usual. And of course, there’s my blog. I try so hard to stay up at night and get things done while the children are in bed, but without fail, I find myself in bed right after them. There’s something about four children five and under that tucker a mama out.
Anyway, so no matter my “reasons”, I haven’t been the best mom lately because I’ve been putting everything else first. It took me a while to realize what I was doing.
The kids were acting up (more than usual), and there was a general attitude of grumpiness in the air. Bad attitudes were flying, selfishness was rearing its ugly head, and I was so done with it all, they ate a quick supper and I put them to bed early- thinking they were just tired.
The weight of the previous weeks came down hard. I had to figure out what was wrong and fix it- quick. This was no way for a family to behave.
It didn’t take me long to realize that my own actions were the source of the problem. By letting housework, schoolwork, and blog work become my top priorities, I’d inadvertently hurt my children, and their behavior reflected that.
I decided to use the following day to make it up to everyone. That day, I put my children first. . .
Through simple acts of love, I brightened their day and filled their little love tanks.
When they asked to read books, I didn’t say, “In a minute.” I stopped what I was doing and read to them. I let them pick from two options what we would have for breakfast and lunch. I said yes to hot chocolate and graham crackers as a snack. I sat in the (unswept) floor and played LEGOs. I went outside to play with them. We painted.
Nothing I did was hard or took much time. Yet, these simple acts of love reassured my children that mama is here. Not just here in the same room- present. I am present in their lives. I want to see every drawing, kiss every boo-boo, listen to them read, braid their hair, play dolls and LEGOs, I want to do it all. And more than that, I need THEM to know I want to.
Putting them to bed after a day of being a Yes Mom felt good. As I made my way down the stairs, I realized that what I did that day should be done every day. Even though I was taking time out of what I was doing, I still got things done. The housework will always be there- they won’t. I managed to truly put my kids first and still get the meals made and keep the house moderately organized. We did school and survived with happy attitudes!
This has been a huge development in my own personal growth as a parent. And I’ve been chugging along at this parenting thing for almost 18 years!