I’m thankful every day and every night and all the hours in between that Christian and I can provide for our children’s physical needs. And in those hours we’re also trying to squeeze some time so that we get a hug or two out of them, do something fun with them, read scriptures, and have a meaningful conversation that is not about cleaning their room or why they can’t scream at their sibling just because said sibling is breathing close to them.
When 2:00pm rolls around I am racing against the clock to make it all happen. On a normal day 30% of everything I want to happen actually happens. On a low expectation/forgiving day where I redefine the terms of “quality-time” about 90% happens.
Scenario: I made Enzo sweep the floor 3 times because he was rushing to get it done. Raised my voice 5 times.
- On a normal day: I’m a terrible mother. It’s so much faster if I just do it myself. If I had done it myself it would have taken me 5 minutes instead of 20 minutes managing Enzo. Plus I wouldn’t have lost my temper. Also, I could have been reading a book with Eliza if I had had those 15 minutes. Arghhh.
- On a forgiving day: Alright Enzo NOW knows how to clean the floor. Sort of. I’ll probably still have to go over this with him 10 more times but he knows he needs to sweep under things. If Enzo truly learns how to clean a house our life and his life will be so much easier.
Redefining quality time is so much more productive than drowning in an Olympic size pool of mom guilt.
- I didn’t get to read for 20 minutes with Eliza. In fact, I read for zero minutes with Eliza….But she got to play legos with Enzo. She loves Enzo. Her fine motor skills are getting better.
- Crap we forgot to read scriptures with the kids again…well they went to bed at a decent time, tomorrow we’ll listen to scriptures in the car, the kids love the soothing scripture reading narrator voice.
- Enzo just spent an hour cleaning the house…yay…I mean crap… I mean he could have spent that hour learning how to code, coding is so important it will give him an advantage when he grows up…but knowing how to clean is a life skill he’ll have to do every day…unless he is a rich engineer and then he can just hire a house cleaner…he needs to learn how to clean.
This. This is my brain. Like all the time. I’m equal parts catholic guilt and equal parts vomiting rainbows of optimism.
I look at my oldest and I wonder, “is this kid so great because I taught him how to read when he was four years old?” Is he so ambitious because I’m so ambitious? Is that a good thing? What if it’s a bad thing?
I know I’m doing some things wrong and I know I’m doing some things right and what is wrong and right is not totally clearly defined. Some of the things I feel like I’m failing miserable just means that they need to figure it out on their own, and they do, and they’re better for it. Some of the things I feel like I’m nailing it is turning out to hinder them. For example, Christian read two entire chapter books on Sunday. Sure he’s a fast reader but he basically has trained the kids to not interrupt him every three seconds. Me on the other hand I can’t use the bathroom without having at least one kid trying to talk to me outside the door. Yesterday Christian and I were having a conversation with a contractor and each of the kids needed my attention no less than three times each, Eliza was over ten. I counted. Not once did they go to Christian. Not because Christian is a bad parent, but because he knows how to tune them out. They know that about him and they know I’m the complete opposite, I never tune them out.
Ahhhh parenting. Good thing our kids will turn out to be who they are in spite of and because of us.