Long Parenting reflection:
So we moved. And change always gets me thinking. I love change so much because it brings new perspectives.
I started reflecting on what in my life was working and what wasn’t.
There was something I observed about my approach to life that was interfering with my happiness:
I was waiting for the kids to “give me a break” so I could do “x, y, z.”
Here is the thing. Right now I am a stay at home mom. I am a homeschooling mom. I am a co-sleeping mom. I don’t get breaks, except for the 3hrs on the weekend I take for myself. I’m “on call” 24/7. So that’s it. That’s what I get. 3hrs away from all 3 of my kids a week.
I started thinking more about how I could ENJOY my kids, because let’s be honest, while I love being with my kids, there are plenty of times I don’t LOVE being with my kids.
Truth: I was seeing my kids as an interference. They prevented me from doing what I needed to do. Cooking, cleaning, exercising, laughing—you name it, I felt like I couldn’t get it done with them around. If I’m being brutally honest, a lot of times I resented them for it. It showed up as impatience, me being annoyed, not wanting to play with them. You get the idea. Not fun for anyone. So I decided it was time to try a different way.
I have transitioned into the model of INCLUSION. How can I include the kids in everything I need to get done?
The result: just in the last 24hrs, the kids helped me bring laundry to the washer, load and start the washer/dryer, fold clothes, put clothes away, load and unload the dishwasher, put dishes away, make dessert, sweep the floor, change baby diapers, wipe baby spit up, and who knows what else. And they WANT TO! “Mom, I want to help with something.”
I am starting to enjoy parenting so much more. I am allowing myself to breathe into these moments. Each task takes a little longer than if I did it myself, but it GETS DONE during the day and prevents me from feeling frantic about doing everything in the 2 seconds I get to myself after they fall asleep before I do. It also allows me to laugh more and be more present, because I’m not hoping they’ll stay distracted long enough so I can run and do the thing.
As a bonus (and partially as a conscious choice) it has made our TV/iPad time nearly disappear. Because we are doing things together. And duh, the kids are learning! Built in homeschooling lessons everywhere. It took me until 8th grade to learn about laundry and cooking in home ec—-these kids are way ahead of me.
Anyway, I wanted to share because it’s really made my life more enjoyable and my relationship more peaceful with my children. My hope is that it helps someone else too. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the things, invite your family in to help you. It pays dividends.