My husband and I watched some home movies recently. My daughter was 2 and my son 4. Thirty seconds in, tears spilled from my eyes at the sound of my daughter’s voice. I hadn’t heard that baby voice in four years. I say I don’t miss all that, life when the kids were younger, but I realize now it’s just a coping mechanism.
What did I learn from watching those old movies? My kids haven’t changed much. Minus the baby fat, they look exactly the same. Between bursts of laughter, my husband and I agreed they still act the same too. They still do the same jerky roll-and-dance routine with ferocious concentration. The neighborhood dogs still howl when my daughter sings. My son still has a smart mouth.
“What did you do in kindergarten today?” I cooed into the video camera, waiting for a precious response I’m sure.
My son stared at me and sweetly grinned. “Sat on the pot all day.”
“Let’s be nice. What did you do?”
“Sat on the pot all day,” he said, erupting in giggles. This conversation could have happened yesterday. Even now I still haven’t learned when to quit.
As I sat watching through blurry eyes, I thought of how busy our life has become. Our days are governed by a schedule filled with school, homework, and shuttling to and from sports or Scouts or some Lego activity. And it’s up to me to make sure we fit everything in. Add in family time, meltdowns, confiding, and playing outside, and there isn’t much room to just be. The structured days make for a mom who needs to let loose more often and craves downtime with her kids.
I simply need to step back and enjoy my kids more. They may look the same, but life has gotten complicated. The kids’ problems go far beyond cookies and milk.
When my son revealed one day he’d been pushed around and punched in the gut at school, it was tough to be the adult, but I found myself having a very adult conversation with him about bullies, surprised at the parental mumbo jumbo spewing from my mouth. And then I had to sit back and let him take charge. Sometimes this parenting stuff is for the birds, all this letting go and letting them run their own lives.
When my daughter gets teased for sounding like a baby, I can’t promise her it will never happen again. I can only pretend I’m good at this mom thing and help her see that she’s a beautiful person and words hurt and she should never do the same.
Parenting is always about rules, guidance, and right and wrong. It wears a mom down. Some days now, there’s hardly ever room for the good stuff. I get enough of the aches. Why should I wait for grandchildren to have all my fun? I’m making room for it now.
I don’t usually set resolutions for the new year, but this year because the timing is right, I resolve to take a breath each afternoon and enjoy my kids more.
Some things never change, and some things should.
5 responses to “A New Year for Mom”
This is an excellent post. During the first couple of paragraphs I thought, “If I watched home movies right now, I would burst into tears.” Then I got to the bullying and teasing part and the hard, hard work of getting one’s children (and one’s self) through the angst of growing up, and thought, “Oh yeah I remember that.” I think you have a wonderful attitude – I’m going to adopt your resolution as well (even though my kids are in college) and vow to appreciate and enjoy my kids.
Thank you. I was a little worried that it sounded like I never enjoy my children. I certainly do. It’s just that all this other stuff takes priority and gets in the way all the time. I appreciate your kind words!
Your post really gets to the hear of the matter. We are so busy “doing” that we forget to just “be”. And it seems like there just isn’t time in the day to “be”. I find that quite often I realize that I don’t just have fun with my boys because there is always stuff that needs to be done (dishes, laundry, cleaning, etc) so when the boys are playing happily I sneak out to do my chores and only resurface when there is a fight that needs to be broken up.
Nice post and a great resolution for the new year!
Great resolution. It does wonders for you to enjoy them before they become hormone-induced disaster areas, wait, no, I mean, teenagers.
Happy New Year!
Excellent closing line!