Becoming More Present in my Children's Lives

Spending quality time with my kids
I have heard so much about being present lately, it seems to me that it was everyone's  New Years resolution.
To be more present.
More present in their relationships with their wives and husbands, more present with their kids, more present in their own lives.  In fact, it was one of my own resolutions this year.

I am always with my kids, but I'm not "with" my kids as much as I want to be.  There are so many distractions in every day life, the load of laundry that needs to be put away, the dishwasher that needs emptying, the dinner that needs to be cooked, the run on the treadmill that i didn't get in yesterday, all of these necessary things that suck my time and energy.
And its not like the kids are neglected, I talk to them all day, I help them when they're stuck with something, I feed them, I sing to them, change their diapers and kiss their boo boos better, I bathe them, and I tell them I love them more times than I can count, but is that enough?
I almost never get the chance to spend one on one time with my kids. I'm talking about no distractions, just me and them, one at a time.
The baby gets some time because, well, hes a baby, he wakes up at night, he demands his share of my time, and he gets it.  My eldest also gets some when she needs help with homework, or when she wants to practice reading, again because its necessary and she demands it.  My poor middle though, she asks for nothing, she is just happy to play by herself, or with her brother or sister.  While I clean she colors, while I work, she reads.  She never demands my time, and so she never really gets it.
Last night, I went in to check on the girls after the baby went to sleep. V was still awake in her crib.  When I walked into the room she gave me a megawatt smile and said "Hi Mommy" in her sleepy little tiny voice.
I climbed into her crib and pulled her into a hug.  We talked, we sang quiet songs and we snuggled.  Long after she had fallen asleep I snuck out feeling more connected with her than I have in a long time.

I want to feel like that more often!

Its amazing how the things that fill my mind and my daily routine, things like laundry, groceries, clean counters and hung up coats, don't actually matter.  I know that ten years from now, I wont care whether or not I did three loads of laundry today, but i will care that my babies aren't babies anymore.  I will cherish the moments like last night, and I hope there will be many to cherish.

I need to change the way I spend my time.  I need to be with them, they need it too.

But at the same time, I need my house to be clean, and we all need clean clothes and food to eat.  If I don't vacuum my carpets how can my kids play on them?  I could ignore the laundry until my kids go to sleep but then when would I see my husband, or spend time with myself?
This balance is where I struggle, and where a lot of moms i know do as well.
How can I fit it all in?
I want to be with my kids, and I want to be there for my husband. I want time for myself and I want a clean home.  I just wish there were more hours in the day.

Until that happens though, I have to work with what I have.
What I have, is today.

Today I am going to BE with my kids.  I am going to soak up their delicious smiles, their sticky hands and their warm hugs.
Today I am going to let my eldest help me make dinner, even though it will take twice as long and create five times the mess.
Today I'm going to color a picture with my middle baby, and I'm going to let her help me with the laundry.
Today I'm going to hold my baby, not because hes hungry or tired, but because I love holding him, and I want him to know it.
And tomorrow? I am going to try to do the same, and every day after that, because I don't want my children's childhoods to pass by me while I'm busy looking the other way.  Ill find the balance, or maybe I won't.  What I will find though is a few more moments a day to BE with my babies, because all too soon they wont be my babies anymore, and Ill be wishing for this time again.

4 comments:

  1. I have struggled for years with finding the correct balance. My oldest just turned 12 two days ago and it hit me like a punch in the gut. There are so many things I wish I could go back and do over. She thinks I'm a great mom, but the mom in me says I should have, and could have, done better about finding that balance earlier on.

    My youngest is six, and I try to spend as much time with him as possible. But with my boyfriend's two children, on top of my two, a huge house to take care of, work and all the other stuff I do for others, I struggle to the point of tears at time. I hope I figure it out soon.

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  2. There will always be more we could have done, unfortunately the time just isnt here. Your son and daughter are lucky to have a mom who cares enough to wish for more. Hugs. be kind to yourself.

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  3. Fantastic post! I am sure there are many myself included that feel this way. I have teens and because they are independent and so cool we spend even less time together, just to be together. Often it is me that is distracted, and not available rather than the other way around. I too need to "be" there more!

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  4. Sometimes it is very difficult to manage what you have to do at home vs playing with your children. When my children were young, I would say to myself "will the children really care about the dusting", well they won't but they will remember that you sat on the floor with them and played.

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