Remembering What Is Important
It’s a busy Monday morning, the kids and husband are off for school and work. I have a hefty list of things to get done today, (including writing this). As they leave I give a few quick kisses and hugs, make sure lunches are in hand, backpacks are in tow and off they go. I think “back to what I really need to get done”, and I rush back to finish the dishes.
As I am scrubbing the pans from our breakfast my mind is racing with all the things around that house that I need to get to. Beds to be made, laundry to be done, counters to be wiped, little messes in each room as if left as gifts from my children for me to discover, the endless ordeal of organizing toys. Most days I will rush from one task to the next, trying to get as much done around the house as humanly possible before my babies need to be picked up from school. I mean, I am a stay at home mom, that is what I am supposed to do, right? Take care of the house, make sure it looks perfect at all times just in case someone were to come to our door and want to come in to visit. What would they think if my house wasn’t neat and orderly? They would probably think that I am a bad mom or at least a lazy housewife that spends her free time watching TV and eating bon-bons, right? Then a thought crossed my mind, “what if I didn’t care what they think? What if I cared more about what my kids think?”
That thought stopped me in my tracks. I was literally taking the toys that my kids had been playing with before they left for school to put them away and I stopped. When my kids walk in the door from school is the first thing they think going to be, “Oh wow! This is a really clean house!!”? No, they are going to want to get out crafts and make creations, or play board games on the floor with me, or make cookies. They are going to want to go dress up and pretend they are Bowser and Elsa and run up and down the halls. They are going to want to cut paper into tiny pieces and pretend that it is snow. And you know what, I want to do those things too. I want to see their smiles and listen to their laughter. I want to hear the silly things that they still say to each other in this stage of life. I want to get down on the ground and wrestle with them, or carry them around upside down while I still can. I want to play a board game on the floor and literally watch as their brains learn and expand. I want to see the excitement on their faces when I hand them a beater covered in cookie dough. I want to be available when an argument comes up so that I can help them solve the problem and teach them what words to use. These are the things I WANT to do; not the things I NEED to do.
So today what will I do differently? I will still do laundry, make beds, do dishes, and pick up the house, because a tidy house is important to me. But I will stop myself shortly before its time to pick up the kids. I will stop myself from doing another project after I pick up my kids. I will mentally prepare myself to come back down to their world. I will decide on an activity to do with them when we get home. I will take the 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour it takes to fill my kid’s buckets with love. Those are the things they are going to remember. Those are the things I am going to remember. Those are the things that are going create a bond between me and my kids that will hopefully withstand the teenage years.
When you come to my house you probably won’t see any difference. It will still be tidy, (they pantry may not be as orderly as I would like); but my kids will see that difference. I may not do my dishes as soon as dinner is done, those can wait until the kids are in bed; or even better Ava and I can start to do them together. Will this work every day, no. Will I still try and squeeze a few chores in while my kids are playing, yes. But will I mentally take the time to connect with my kids, absolutely. I am a stay at home mom, my first priority is my kids, not my house.