After a fun-filled weekend of birthday activities and time with friends, it was time to just sit down and relax a little, letting all the excitement of the weekend settle. As we sat there cuddled on the couch I asked each of my boys “What was your favorite part of the last few days” and my younger son looked up and said “making cake with you”, and my older son thought about it a little longer and said “going out to ice cream with you and daddy”. At first I was a little confused and actually tried to get them to change their answers… “Really??” I questioned.. “It wasnt bowling?? or all your birthday presents??” And they both looked at each other and then back at me, and said “Nope.” There was a part of me that was disappointed at first.. thinking to myself, so glad we spent all that money on bowling and presents, when we could have just made a cake and had ice cream! But then it hit me..It wasnt about the cake and ice cream. It was about spending quality time with daddy and mommy. It really is that simple isn’t it?
Since becoming a mom, I am guilty of over planning, over spending and over scheduling my kids. I hate to admit that. But its true. I have run my 1-year-old to swimming lessons, because he “had to have them” and put my 3-year-old in soccer because he would “be behind” if not. I have brought them to practically every “kids play place” there is in the area, and gone to story hour when my kids plain didn’t want to be there. I have bought zoo memberships, and museum passes so that my kids didn’t miss out. I have spent money I haven’t had, and took time that was already stretched because I felt without my kids were being deprived. When in reality, if I had only stopped and asked them what they wanted to do that day, they probably would have just preferred to go to a park, where I could push them on a swing for hours, and we could pack a lunch and eat it, just us. Their response may have also been, “I just want to stay home, and make some cookies” and you know what… I would have loved that too. But instead I would rush them out the door for that 10 am play date that was more important to me than it was to them. Was there good in all the places, and activities we have done? Yes. Were my intentions good? Always. And My kids did enjoy most of them. My son now has a love for soccer, because of those mommy and me sessions, and I love bringing my kids to the zoo, and seeing their faces light up when watching the monkeys swing through the air. But what was really special for both me and them all those times, was doing them together, without the distractions of life getting in the way. Those afternoons of baking were spent laughing and talking to each other. Not spent looking up from a phone or computer to answer a question. Those mornings at the zoo were spent looking for animals, and practicing animal sounds, not spent cleaning while occasionally playing something quick to keep them at bay. I lose sight of that soo easily for some reason, until their little voices remind me that the real special thing to them is just being with me or my husband. That having our undivided attention means way more to them than any present or cool new play place ever could. I guess sometimes its hard to believe that I am enough for them. That my attentiveness and just being 100% in the moment is what they long for.
So to all my mommy and daddy friends out there… I challenge you this today, as I challenge myself, Put down that phone, close the computer, set aside your work, turn off the exercise DVD, and look up at your kids. Play with them. Read to them. Talk to them. Pray with them. Get to really know them. Today, show them they are your everything that they really are in your heart. Give them a few hours of your undivided attention, and let them know, they are way more important than any deadline, work out, phone call, or facebook status. I think we will all be surprised on what we have been missing out on by not setting aside that specific time just for them. This is not meant to make you feel guilty or ashamed on how you have spent your time in the past.. This is to show you, you are not alone, we all get wrapped up in life and unintentionally push aside the most important things. But you can take that time back. You have the power to make that totally uninterrupted time happen each and every day. So enjoy. I promise you it will be way more rewarding than any thing you will find on here… So go! I am gonna go too :)