Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Drop Everything and Play

One of challenges of being a mom is knowing how to organize your day so that your priorities are kept straight.  Here are just a couple examples of how I fail at this at times:

~Reading to my child is important to me, but after breakfast is served, making lunch and laundry is on my mind not books.

~Teaching my daughter to cook and bake is important to me but when I am in a hurry to get dinner on the table, kid less kitchen with minimal mess seems to satisfy.

~Getting down on the carpet and playing with my kids yields special memories but if the baby is napping I got a big to do list that excludes my sitting on the carpet like a slacker.

This list can go on, but I will spare you.

As my time as a stay at home mom is coming to an end, I am starting to think about all the things I will be missing out on when I go back to work (even if part-time) since the schedule at the high school I work at changed from block to a seven period day this year. This means that I will be working every day opposed to every other day as in the years past.

What my new schedule means is that I will no longer be able to go to all the kid places like the OMSI, Children's Museum, the Zoo, etc,  during the week day as have been the weekly routine ever since my oldest was 2.

You see, these places were my only escapes from the daily hassles of stuff I do that compete with my kids for my attention.

When I am out and about I get to Drop Everything and Play (DEAR, anyone?).  I delight in watching them create, build, get messy, get wet, push themselves to various physical and intellectual limits.  Often times, I get in there with them.  I let them lead me and am careful to pull away when they want to do something independently.

I often say that when my children are older, I do not want them to only remember me at the kitchen sink/stove/counter (though the memory of my efforts to serve them good food will be appreciated), but I want to remembered as a mom who looked them in the eyes every time she spoke to them.  I want to be remembered as a mom who turned her radio off in the car when her children wanted to tell her something they thought was important at that very moment.  I want to be the mom who didn't cringe at the mess that various projects added to an already untidy house.  I want to be remembered as a mom who valued interaction with them over that of a screen (darn Facebook).

I don't know if there are people out there with children all grown up who have no regrets about the kind of parents they were.   I doubt it.   However, I know for sure, that I'll have no regrets about not having a perfect house and picture worthy meals.  I will not regret nor will I apologize for leaving my dishes in the sink overnight and not making all the beds in the house first thing in the morning.  I will not regret spending minimal time at the gym/salon/shopping mall nor will I feel bad about buying a van at age 26.

What I am terrified to regret is that I was too busy to play.  Too busy to engrave their big smiles and big bright eyes onto my heart.

Too busy to make them giggle more often and engage in various modes of silliness.

Too busy to take pictures with them. 

Too busy be more gentle, more kind, more patient, more graceful...

That is why I resolve to Drop Everything and Play.  So help me God.