Here is a little question I have for other mothers: Do you sit and play with your kids? If so, how often, and how long?
This question has been ping-ponging around in my brain for a little while now because I struggle to find time to really spend with my daughters. But the days and years are going by and when I think of what I might regret, it's the thought of not having spent time with them, going slow, making memories quietly at home together. This is not usually a "compare-myself-to-Pinterest-moms" mental game, and it's not about adding more "stuff" into our day or onto my workload or trying to be "a good mom." This is just me noticing the longings of my heart to be in the present with my children more often.
I had a funny thought earlier today. I was thinking about Ma Ingalls which, strangely, I often do. (That is strange, right?) I remembered reading how sometimes, if Ma finished her work, she would sit in the rocking chair and cut paper dolls for Laura and Mary. And I was struck by that phrase: finished her work. How could Ma have ever felt like her work was finished? There was surely always more food to put up, more clothes to mend or make, more water to haul. But she gave the impression to her daughters that she was through with work to spend time with them. That's what I want. I will never feel like my work is finished, but I can make my children feel like it is finished sometimes.
My to-do list is so long; it is always so long, it feels Ma-Ingalls-long. Isn't yours? That's a mother in her natural habitat: standing in the kitchen staring at her list. It's full of really wonderful things: nutritious and delicious meal preparation, making sure there are clean clothes in drawers, simplifying clutter, exercising, doing dishes, making doctor's appointments or a meal plan, beautifying or tidying the home. It is so easy to just keep going - and going - and going
- and going -
and never accomplish it all. Then it's bedtime and another day went by in which I accomplished a good amount of basic upkeep of our family and yes, spent some time with the children, usually reading or talking with them as they perch on the counter helping with cooking - but not as much as I wish.
My kids are really good at play, as most kids are. They are really good at entertaining themselves and I am so happy for that. They don't depend on me for entertainment which I see as a very good thing. But I feel like I am missing something and I am going to blink and my heart will be heavy in a few years.
One of my goals for this month is to stop my work at least once a day and be with my daughters. It might be as simple as sitting down and really watching them play with dolls or playing with them; it might mean pulling out a special game or planning a special activity to do at the table together. There is no chance I will ever regret this.