If you are like me, you are probably busy. I mean really busy.
I look at my list of responsibilities and the calendar and try to see what I can say “no” to, but there just isn’t anything to skip. It’s not as though we haven’t tried…it just seems to be the reality of married life with three kids, a dog, and a house undergoing some renovations. Throw in springtime and it gets downright insane! Plus, everyone in my house has a busy schedule; from dance (x3 classes), gymnastics, travel soccer, before and after school clubs, Girl Scouts, music lessons (x 2 kids), a husband that works and coaches soccer, to my own responsibilities with work at three jobs and volunteering for the PTA, my church, and my children’s school.. we are wiped! Not to mention trying to balance it all and still make healthy meals, keep our house cleaned up, and not go totally crazy!! I have to believe that I am not the only one feeling like this!
Right?!?!? (Please tell me I’m not the only one!)
During an extremely challenging week our household was a hot mess. Everyone was busy, emotional, and needed extra attention. Plus we had our regular “life” duties and all of the above activities. Everybody needed a break, but we kept trucking on. During a hectic afternoon, I was getting an after school snack ready for my three kiddos and answering an email on my phone. Since busy for me looks a lot like me being on my computer or phone, my kids associate my phone with me being too busy for them. Which of course is not the case, but having access immediately to emails and job related activities in a very virtual world, means that I can be efficient and multi-task. But my oldest set me straight on this crazy day. While I was getting the snack to the table I was also looking at my phone. She was trying to get my attention, by talking to me. I gave the typical “yeah” and “oh, that sounds nice” responses, but it wasn’t what she needed. She needed my attention, and my multi-tasking version of paying attention was not cutting it.
You know how I knew?
She touched my arm.
No words were shared.
In that single, skin to skin touch, I knew. I knew she needed me, her mom.
I put down the phone and told her I was sorry. I asked her to tell me the story again.
She hugged me and told me it was ok, but it wasn’t ok and that got me thinking. It wasn’t ok that I only gave her half of my attention. What else have I missed while “multi-tasking”? What other conversations have I only participated in 50%? Am I only a 50% mom during these moments? What example am I setting for my children by being busy?
I wonder, because when I am busy “working” it is always in their interest; it’s for their school, their activities, or to provide them with what they need. Or at least I think it’s for them. I know that I love all of my jobs and volunteer roles for different reasons, independently of each other, but in combination with one other I know that it’s too much. There are days, when I ask myself why I spread myself so thin with so many jobs and responsibilities with very little “me” time. Sometimes I think it’s to feel important or to be needed and validated for my efforts. But right then, with that touch, I felt validated, felt needed, and I knew I was important to her. And that was better than any work I could have done.
I am still working on letting go of my insistent need to be or feel busy, but I am also giving myself some GRACE here and saying thank you. THANK YOU to my oldest daughter for reminding me of what is most important to me. My family. They are the most important, with my own sanity a close second!
As a mom (well as a human being), I am a work in progress. I believe that we all are. I take snippets of what I have learned from all the other mothers and fathers around me to shape me into a better mom. I have learned the most from my parents, but my biggest lessons have been from my children. They are the best teachers because their personalities and unique needs really show me what they need. Everything is a teachable moment, even for us as parents. Hard lessons from our children can hurt, but they make us better. If we pay attention and listen, they make us into who they need us to be.
These precious days are coming and going so swiftly, that soon they’ll be over and I don’t want to regret anything. I don’t want to regret working, when I could have been playing. That email can wait. The text can wait. The work can wait- while these precious ones are still little. Take time with them now so that they know they can count on us later. Listen to the small stuff because soon it will be big stuff. And the big stuff will need our full attention.
LIVE your life, but LOVE the way you live it. If you need to make an “edit” then do it. Don’t wait until you regret that you didn’t, by then it’s too late. BE the parent your child needs you to be, today. Give yourself GRACE for your mistakes, but also share that grace with others who need a little bit themselves. We are all a work in progress, just doing the best we can. THANK the lessons that are revealed in your life and try to retire the word BUSY. If you have to be busy with anything, be so BUSY LOVING that nothing else matters.
There are no happy accidents~