*A get-away with my Mom and sisters to Park City sans kids.
Every mom has their own brand of guilt. Mine is not spending enough time with my kids the way they want to spend it.
I have no problem saying no to chairing a PTO committee, to an invitation to a party, to any number of things that I am asked to do daily and constantly. But, when any of my children look at me with their big brown eyes and say, “Mom will you play chutes and ladders/hide and seek/dolls/____ with me?” If I don’t agree, I am instantly crushed with guilt. Luckily Josh has stopped asking me to play catch with him – we’ve both realized it’s not my talent.
These years go by so fast, what could be more important than spending time with them? Then I agree, leaving things undone.
I know all the poems. I even have this one hanging by my bed. It’s true and I love it but…..
As I mentioned in my snapshot of life post, I have been using my precious one to two hours a day alone, on me, my own goals and dreams. Which means that I don’t get random housework done during that time, which means that there is more to do when the kids are around, which means less time to play with them, which means guilt.
But if I do agree to their fairly constant requests, the house suffers, which makes everyone crabby and means…. more guilt.
I’ve been seeking this elusive balance between being a deliberate mother, available and connected to each child and being a human with interests and goals outside of motherhood.
Then I realized that allowing my children to see me work toward a goal is a gift in and of itself. Being completely available to my kids isn’t the ultimate goal. Helping them become is.
I realized that while we spend more time together doing chores and less time playing, it is still time together and can be used to talk, connect, dance, and flat out learn how to run a household.
I realized that working together is largely about my attitude. If I get frustrated by dawdling or am overly critical of how a job is done everyone is unhappy and I feel like a terrible mother – guilt. But if I am patient and cheerful, even if it means going into the bathroom and taking deep breathes, we generally come out okay and even make some memories.
Today, the kids “helped me” paint the nursery after school while we listened to Harry Potter. Josh ended up with a huge ball of painters tape, Max ended up building lego towers and then throwing a screwdriver at them to try and knock them down and Anna painted for awhile and then built a two story house out of legos. It wasn’t relaxing (after an hour I told them to go watch TV), but I made some progress and laughed with my kids.
There are days when I let the house go and play and there are days when I don’t. As with everything in life, there is an and. What is important on any given day, may not be important on the next.
I can be both a mother who adores her kids and a human with other interests – the balance will just change from day to day,
My wise mother constantly tells me that everyone has the same twenty-four hours in a day. It’s not possible to do everything every day, and the people who look like they are, really aren’t, they are skipping something somewhere. That used to make me feel better until I realized that it’s sleep, those amazing people who can have a sparkling house, a delicious dinner, own their own business, constantly serve others, and have regular date nights with their kids and their spouse probably just don’t need very much sleep. But me, I need sleep – so I can let go of the guilt.