Imagine if you could order your life like you put in a burger order at a restaurant… “I’d really like my days to devour me like an uncontrollable whirlwind . I’d also like them muddled together and filled with anxiety, exhaustion, and overwhelm. And oh yah, I’d like them accompanied by a never ending to-do list.”
Why is it that we settle for living a life we would never order? Why do we allow ourselves to take the backseat to everyone else’s needs?
We’d all probably answer the same: LOVE.
We expend a colossal amount of our time taking care of the people we love. And we contentedly live these kinds of crazy days because we’re a mom. It’s our “job”.
But what happens when you don’t have time for your life?
“Oh I’d never do that,” you say.
Well, momma… time for a reality check. It is actually very easy to be so consumed in the events on our calendars, the mounding laundry pile, our to-do list, and how to coordinate the chaos in our home that we don’t have time to stop and enjoy the life we’re living.
I know this because I too find myself so caught up in the harried pace of life that I don’t have time (and don’t take time) to revel in the here and now.
We only have our children living in our home for 18 years. 18 years! That’s only 940 Saturdays! It makes my eyes misty to think of all the moments I’ve rushed past or that I’ve taken for granted.
How many times have I brushed off something one of the boys was trying to tell me because we needed to move on to the next thing?
How many times have I raised my voice or snapped at them because I had too much on my plate to slow down and respond properly?
How many times have I overlooked teachable moments just to get over the issue at hand quickly?
A large portion of the challenge of learning to yell less and love more that often gets overlooked isn’t just focusing on how to handle situations when they arise, but rather learning to live in the moment and focus on our children to show love BEFORE problems arise.
Children learn early on that negative attention is still attention. Children know early on when you’re not truly listening to them, but rather going through the motions with a deaf ear.
I don’t want my boys thinking “my mom didn’t have time for us because…”
Because she was too focused on what she has to get done.
Because we always have somewhere to be and something to do.
Because she often seemed irritated when I asked her questions and interrupted her.
Because she is run ragged since she is so busy taking care of us that she doesn’t take care of herself.
There is a fine line that we walk between overly engaging in our families in busyness and keeping the family entertained. We both know that bored kids can be a challenge and that keeping them active is a sanity saver. However, a busy overbooked life looks different than keeping children engaged.
Think about it this way, busy families tend to…
- eat meals in shifts.
- see each other in passing, but may not be present with each other.
- find themselves rushing from place to place.
- have as many social activities on the calendar, as they have family time set aside.
- feel stressed, overwhelmed and over-committed.
I’m not saying this to make you feel bad. Trust me, many of us (including me) have been a “busy” family. Probably more often than we’d care to admit.
I hope you realize that what is missing from this “busy family” description is connection.
Your children may be happy and greatly entertained with the sports, dance classes, playdates and activities lined up on the calendar. But these activities will pass. Their team friends will move on. You, momma, will always be there though. You are the steady in their lives. Their rock. Are you allowing yourself time to connect with your children?
Connection can happen in the simplest of times. But not if you are too busy. Not if you are so consumed with what has to be done next that you’re missing the now.
So what can you do to make a daily connection with your children?
SPEND TIME TOGETHER.
This can be doing a planned activity together, but it can also be as simple as making a meal together or sitting down at the table for a meal together. Cuddle. Go on a “date” with your child. Do a science project together. Or even let your child help you with a house project. (Hey, I let my 6-year old paint my bedroom wall and it really wasn’t that bad! Plus, he loved it! Memory made.)
Take a walk. Go camping. Get out in nature and revel in the beauty around you. Plan a Mom & Kid Adventure. Take in a museum.
Tell jokes when you’re in the car on the way to the store. Or make up silly songs together. My boys didn’t know that their mother was such a talented rapper! It makes them laugh, it makes them cringe. It cracks us all up. Just have fun together. There is something so precious about hearing your children laugh.
CONCENTRATE ON COMMUNICATION & CONNECTION.
Do things that don’t require being tethered to an electronic. Read together. Do art together. Ask questions. Heck, ask your kids three million “would you rather” questions! The key here is to get your child talking. And then listen to what they have to say. You’ll find that seeing the world from their perspective is truly astounding.
MAKE A BUCKET LIST.
What are some family activities you would like to do together? Where would you like to go? Are there new parks you haven’t been to? Does your child want to eat a popsicle every day during the summer? Pick out some fun activities that you can all look forward to doing together. And then enjoy the satisfaction of crossing those items off the list because it means you have created a memory and spent priceless time with your child. Bucket lists are amazing and fun!
It is love that spurs us moms onward. It fuels our tanks as we chauffeur our children from one sporting event to the next. It is love that prompts us to make the millions of sacrifices we make for our families. But if we are too busy to speak love, if we are too rushed to demonstrate that love in a way our children understand what good is it?
I urge you today, moms, don’t be so caught up in the things of today that you haven’t made a memory that will last tomorrow.
Take time for the life you are creating and living now! You don’t have to have a full calendar to have a full heart.
When your life starts going full speed ahead, what is something you do to slow down and bask in the moment? Please share in the comments below.