I love my kids. Even when I’ve repeated the same thing 37 times and no one listens, I actually love them ha! But I never realized how challenging parenting really is. It wasn’t until recently as our oldest grows in his personality, that I found myself in a rut of just making it through the day… you know what I mean. Literally the bare minimum of keeping your kids from harming themselves until they go to sleep. Some nights I literally count down until bedtime routines just so I can say goodnight sooner. Then I press repeat the next day hoping that at some point I’ll find rest. Just managing, not succeeding or thriving… maintaining.
As much as other great blogs I read help me feel better about how tough, exhausting, annoying, and frustrating motherhood can be. I love the community of motherhood I find in the midst of sarcasm and grit, but I feel as though sometimes it causes me to forget the heart of parenting. I can easily get caught up with how my toddler is a terrorist and my six year old is the most dramatic child to grace this earth, but then it puts me in an even crappier and resentful mood when I’m trying to remember why I even like my kids in the first place!
Because parenting is not just getting your kids to 18 or managing behaviors, your own fears, or situations – nor is it belittling the most vulnerable people in your world simply to joke at their shortcomings…but it’s intentionality. Not perfection, but grace soaked intentionality. Showing up and being engaged even when your kids give you every reason to sell them on eBay. That’s whether you stay at home or you work and only have a few hours to savor with your babies.
At times I’ve felt guilty when I send the kids away to “play,” allow them to binge watch every episode of PJ Mask, or a movie marathon so I can just be. And trust me those days exist for my sake and theirs, but I had to reevaluate why those days were my default and what I wasn’t doing personally so that I could be present for them.
As we’ve entered into first grade this has been on my mind more than ever. My personal challenge of consistent intentionality in my parenting. The fact that I in many ways easily focus on being tired that even when I’m not, I still excuse engaging my kids. I don’t disregard them, but I do find more laundry to do, dishes to clean, or mess to clean up rather than sit and play…
This past weekend our oldest and I had to work on a project I completely missed doing with him. I cried when I realized we missed his due date. I was mortified when I told his teacher we had to turn it in late…especially because we had over 2 months of notice to do it. After we worked almost the entire day on it, we finished it. Both the baby and Titus fell asleep and I knew it wasn’t in the cards for Kai to sleep as well, so I told him if he wanted to play a video game he could. He beamed with joy and asked me if I would play with him. My initial response was I have to clean up…but then I stopped myself and obliged.
He waited for me until we walked down together to the basement. Kai wasn’t letting me get out of this one. We played for over an hour and he showed me all kinds of moves and tricks that blew my mom mind. We had a blast and I remembered why the dishes and the cleaning could wait. That hour affirmed once again why I want to be present even when my kids annoy me, because I want them to feel the intentionality of my love for them. My heart to give them all I can so they can run towards life and their dreams with very little fear and regrets..
I know I can’t do that by simply just managing their lives and hoping they figure it out. I need and want to be there present, ready, and guiding them to who I know they can be.
So fellow mama friend who is exhausted and needs that break, take it. Take it so you can come back and be engaged more than ever. Because you’ll be glad you didn’t excuse yourself out of this time and they’ll be forever grateful that you were present through it all.