One afternoon when I was running around trying to get housework done, laundry, tidying, dusting, mopping, etc my little girl who was just turning three taught me something I hope I won’t soon forget. I got some wonderfully epic life lessons from my three year old.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. I’m tired of being tired. I don’t know how you all do it, seemingly effortlessly. I’m a full time teacher and a mum and wife to a very hard working, shift working husband. I have a million of things that I want to do, that I want to do around the house, that I want to cook, that I want to create, that I want to do and I just don’t have enough time in a day. Which results in me only getting a few hours of sleep a night, either from me staying up late trying to get it all done, or me lying in bed, thinking about all the things that I need to do.
I just don’t have any time. Some days – especially the days that I am home with the kids – I am lucky if I get to eat one meal and one cold cup of coffee (that has been reheated several times) by dinner time. I am just constantly running around, trying to get everything done, no time to stop. Then one day this past week as I was rushing around trying to get dinner going, with a sick kid laying on the couch, my little daughter came up to me (she just turned 3 today) and said, “Mummy, won’t you please come and play with me…stop moving”. My heart sank. I looked down in her big bright eyes, her hair wild and crazy from all her shenanigans.
Here I am running around thinking that I am doing the right thing for my kids, making sure they have healthy and home cooked meals, clean clothes, a clean house, etc. and all she wanted me to do, was to Stop. Just stop. And sit and play with her.
I immediately bent down, scooped her up in my arms, dropped whatever I was doing in the kitchen and I sat and played with her – I think we went on a mission for Paw Patrol with her brother. And let me tell you it was awesome. We climbed mountains, saved Jake, rescued a cat and went camping. Not only were they both happy, but so was I. I was able to stop, forget about the chores piling up, ignore the mess, and just enjoy their creativity, enjoy her imagination, and enjoy each other. I soaked up every minute and it was amazing.
I know that I can’t play with her all the time, I know that I can’t forget my adult responsibilities, and I know that I can’t just play all the time. But I promised myself that I would play more when they were awake, put the electronics down, leave the laundry and set aside some time for my kids. I can do chores when they are asleep, I can catch up on meal prep, or cleaning later.
Deep in my core, I know that family and kids are more important than anything else, but sometimes I struggle with this. I have a hard time with many things. I have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that my house will not be as neat and tidy as other peoples, I have a hard time when I don’t make each meal from scratch, I have a hard time when there are piles of things in corners or laundry not finished, or beds not made. Not because I feel that those things need to be done or that they are important, but because others around me think they do. I need to learn how to put those thoughts aside and really just focus on my kids.
If my little 3 year old notices that I haven’t stopped moving, that I haven’t sat and played with her – that is a problem. To me that is not acceptable. What is more important? That I don’t have any dirty laundry left to do? Or that my kids feel like I have made time for them?
My priorities shifted that day – and I hope and pray that I can continue this and to find a better balance on my weekends and week nights – to just stop. Just stop and play whatever imaginary game they have come up with – and really just be with them.
I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this, and maybe we can work together to remind ourselves of what is truly important, and what we need to focus our time on – I know I need all the help I can get.