The other night I was over at a good friend’s home. After the hustle and bustle of getting settled, I had a moment when I looked around the table and thought, “Wow, I don’t remember the last time I really enjoyed my kids.” Dinner had been made and the stress of being the only one in charge was lifted. I saw my kids in a new way … a way I had not seen them in months. They are funny, smart, independent, stubborn, kind, loving and amazing kids! Logan was loving him mac ‘n cheese and loving the attention he was getting. Weston was asking me to switch chairs with him because he wanted to sit on the stool. Holy smokes, my kids were really talking! (We’ve been struggling with their speech and they have been in speech therapy for over a year now.) I saw how much I missed them. I missed these moments and mostly because I was to busy to notice them lately.
I started to remember a mom book study from last spring when I was a stay at home mom in Sussex. Another mom, Jen, and I were talking about all the crazy, fun things we do with our children. How we embrace messes as times of laughter, that we get down on our knees and love our kids up to the moon and back. We stop for a snowball fight while carrying in the groceries. We let the dinner dishes sit at the table so we have a time for an extra bedtime story. Where did that mom go? How did I become someone who didn’t enjoy the little things anymore? Someone who didn’t embrace each moment as an opportunity to create a memory?
I hear myself yelling and screaming at my kids more than laughing at their cuteness. I get frustrated when they won’t put their boots on rather than find a fun game to make out of it. I remember a time when Logan and Weston got into the rice. It was everywhere! They were laughing, thinking it was SO MUCH FUN! I didn’t get mad … not one bit. I scooped it all up and put it in a huge bin, grabbed some measuring cups and bowls and let the kids have at it. It was all over the carpet, under the couch and on the table. I didn’t care one bit. That’s why God made vacuums. The joy that they got out of playing with simple rice was far worth the extra few minutes I would spend sucking it all up. Besides, the kids loved to vacuum so they really did most of the clean up themselves.
If that would have happened yesterday, I would have had a canary!
This photo was taken just over a year ago, on January 11, 2013 with the captain “It’s going to be one of those days.” I’m pretty sure I would have been too flustered to stop and take a photo if that happened yesterday.
What happened to me? Where did relaxed mom go? How did I get so high strung, so fast and without even knowing what happened?
I suppose a lot of it has to do with being the head of my own household. Being fully in charge is more stressful than I knew. I don’t like being a disciplinarian, but I also understand the importance of it. I focus on everything else going on around me – I’m in touch with my own thoughts and feelings, thinking of the bills that need to be paid, dishes that need to be washed and the need for the kids to get their sleep. Not getting home until 6 p.m. doesn’t give me very much time with them. I have little time left to be mindful of what my children might spring on me and how I want to handle it. I am less focused on them and more focused on running a household.
This dinner gave me awareness that I was missing out on so much. I was missing how incredible all of my children really are. I remember the mom that I worked hard to be. I need to stop so that I can hear the laughter of my own flesh and blood. While I strive to be a hardworking and successful single mom, that’s not what I want my babies to remember me as.
I want them to remember mom who laughs, a lot. That it’s ok to make huge messes as long as you have fun while doing so and that you clean it up when you are done. There is more to life than working (but working hard is still really important!). The dishes can wait to be cleaned until after you play outside (come on, it’s only daylight for so long!). Respect is incredibly important and that kindness goes a long way. Prayer is apart of every aspect of life, family is most important and that hugs are a necessity.
I suppose I’m finally settling in to life as a single mom. I finally have the urge to bake and have found the interest in looking for new recipes for dinner. I have started to keep up with cleaning the kitchen and bathroom (please don’t ask me if I dust). Today we had a picnic in the living room – just for fun. I didn’t pick up my phone, but rather we made up funny games to play with our french fries and enjoyed a Popsicle as dessert. I don’t remember the last time I just played with my boys.
I love my children so very much … whether they are in heaven or on earth. Being a mother is one of the most important things, if not THE most important thing I will ever do on this earth. I take my job seriously. Being a mother is one of (if not THE) most important things you will ever do in your life. Make it fun – make it memorable and most of all love your babies!