“Play with me, mommy!”
My toddler said these words about five times today, and he says it just about every day.
“I’m baking you a playmate here inside my tummy!” is my immediate reaction—together with a sigh to myself that maybe when the second child really is big enough to play with him, they’ll both leave me alone to do my work in peace.
But today, reading HandsFreeMama’s blog got me thinking. And thinking. And realizing.
My son is nearly three years old. That’s not quite a toddler anymore. Before I know it, he really won’t be saying those words anymore. I’m also aware that the day will come, when I will want to play with him, and I won’t be “fun” or “cool” anymore.
Time flies too fast; you suddenly understand that when you’re a parent.
There’s a reason I opted for being a work-from-home mom, and only taking job offers which allowed for that. Essentially, it was so that I could be there for my child. When I had a 10-6 job in a cozy air-con office, it sure was nice getting a bigger salary. But I’d leave the house early morning, and then at the end of the day, when I came home to my kid, he was nearly asleep. I felt like I was missing out on his life. I wanted to take more charge of my parenting.
Problem is, now that I have plenty of time to spend with him, the opposite happens. He brings me joy and aggravation. I send him off to kindergarten so that I can have a few hours to do the work I need to do. And when he comes home, I am happy that my husband is here to take him outside and play, and do all those rowdy boy things.
I need to stop.
Stop trying to be properly productive, to have things to show for, to stop saying to my son, “Go play by yourself for a bit.”
Because these days will never come again.
Of course, we also need to be realistic as parents. It’s my choice to send him to Kindergarten, because we moms DO need time for ourselves (I was homeschooled, and have nothing against it, if a mom is 100 per cent focused on homeschooling and has the energy for it—like my mom was), and so that time is allotted to work on what I need to do.
But I also need to LOVE.
Love him during this time when he still hugs me back, no matter what. Love him through each stage of growth, firmly.
I need to SPEND MORE TIME.
Time when he is around, to get down on his level and see things from his perspective.
I need to DANCE.
Like today, when we played kiddy music and spun around and around the room, holding hands and giggling, dancing like silly clowns and having the time of our lives being dizzy.
I need to BE MORE CONNECTED.
We talk about striving for better connectivity in our social networks; we put effort into cultivating adult relationships for career and profit; but how do we connect with our kids as parents? How aware are we of their feelings, their needs, or their dreams?
I just need to BE THERE.
Sometimes, when we wake up in the morning, my son, husband and I just lie in bed and HUG and CUDDLE. We often fall asleep again for a few more minutes, in each others’ arms and warmth. We just spend those moments being there, together.
In those moments, I can feel like nothing else matters—not the worries of last night, not all the going-ons in my head, not the trivial problems and challenges of life. It’s just peaceful. These are the moments I want to remember, and want my children to remember.
I want them to remember that their mom was there, and always had TIME to play with them.