#Momlife-Learning to Enjoy Your Kids

OK, ladies.  Time to come clean.

We all  have those moments when we

Just.

Don’t.

Like.

Our.

Children.

So, what should we do?

Grin and bear it.  You don’t want to hurt their feelings or make them sad.

Hide in the bathroom with your favorite book.  Don’t forget to estimate how much time you have once their Netflix movie starts.  The 2 year old’s attention span isn’t notoriously long these days, but you could probably get a chapter in before she scribbles on her sister with the permanent marker she found on the kitchen counter.

Buckle them babies in.  Thank heavens it’s Happy Hour and Sonic has somewhat sugar-free slushes!  If they are buckled in they can’t wreak too much havoc, right?

Take them to Target.  The Dollar Spot always has some fun little trinket for the kids that won’t break the bank.  Wandering the aisles at Target while your little ones play with their new toy satisfies both your need for retail therapy and keeps them busy.

There is always the dump-them-on-daddy-when-he-gets-home-from-work technique:  “Babe, I need to run to the grocery store to get something I forgot.  Corn dogs are in the microwave.   I won’t be gone long.  Need anything?”

Admit it.  We all do it.  E.S.C.A.P.E.  Some days those precious little blessings have the ability to reduce you to quivering, hot mess in 3 minutes flat.  Fortunately, there are some things you can do that can make life feel easier.

First, don’t forget to spend time with your kids each day. This might seem counter intuitive, but it is exactly what you and your children need. Sometimes I get to the end of my day and realize that I haven’t sat down and hung out with my kids that day.  I’ve been so busy cooking, cleaning, and getting the laundry done that I forget to attend to the obvious:  my children. Robot mode got me through the day, hurrying through each task with the baby on my hip/in the saucer/in the high chair, Netflix on, every interesting toy I can think of out, trying to keep my kids busy while I try to catch up with my ever-growing list.  No one’s needs are getting met that way.  Stick-a-fork-in-me-I’m-overdone.  And so are they.

Stop.  Breathe.  Grab your favorite book and read to them.  Pop in a new movie and let them snuggle in your lap.  Sit in your favorite chair and ask your toddler to tell you a story.  My son, Aaron, loves it when I write the story down exactly as he tells it and then read it back to him.   Last month, 4-year-old Aaron created a “recipe” and had his daddy write it down on an index card.  He carried that “recipe” around for a week!

Second, after the kids go to bed, take the time to write a list of those precious things you love about each child.  The list for my Aaron would include that his creativity knows no bounds (I am always amazed at how imaginative he is), his facial expressions can be so dramatically over-expressive (especially his lips), and he loves to include anyone in his games, including 5-month-old Silas.  Next time you are feeling frustrated, go to a quiet place  (the bathroom?) and read your list.  Doing this brings a smile to my face and calms my anxious spirit.

Third, learn to laugh.  Find humor in the stage in life that you are in.  I’m not suggesting that you inappropriately laugh at the mess your toddler just made while you were putting in the next load of laundry.  I’m referring to a private chuckle because, well, it really is humorous.  As I’m typing this up, my 2-year-old is in my lap and I’m trying to see past the ponytail on top of her head.  As I lean left, she leans left.  As I lean right, she leans right.  It is funny when you stop and picture what is happening, right?  You can find humor in almost any situation.

A few moments ago, as I was carrying my sleeping baby to bed, I tripped over a paper shopping bag that was left over from sorting out hand-me-downs yesterday.  As I breathed a sigh of relief that the sound of the crinkling bag hadn’t woken up the snoozing baby, my husband’s alarm clock went off.  Five-month-old Silas popped up on all fours in his bed and gave me a huge grin.  Where did that bag come from anyway?  I had walked back and forth from my rocking chair to the baby’s bed several times during the night and that bag hadn’t there.  You have to admit, it is kind of funny.

Third, don’t forget to fill your cup.  You can’t pour more out than you put in. It  may seem impossible to set aside time for yourself, but YOU CAN DO IT.   Instead catching up on chores while your little ones are napping, take a few minutes several times each week to do something you enjoy.  If you enjoy reading, read.  If you enjoy painting, paint.  If you enjoy drinking a cup of coffee on the patio each morning, try to fit it in.  Meet a mom-friend at Dairy Queen for a Blizzard one evening after the kids go to bed.  Watch a  movie with your husband.  You get the idea.

Some seasons in life are tougher than others.  It’s important to keep your perspective and focus on your long-term vision:  to raise intelligent, caring, productive members of society.  You can’t change the season in life you are in, but you can change your response to it.

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