Enjoying your child(ren)
Is it always easy to enjoy your kids? Many of us, if we are honest, have days it is hard to enjoy our children. Why is this?
Is it because we are tired or they are obnoxious? Or could it be that we don’t have the time we need to care for them? And possibly we have other things we’d rather do than be a mom to our kids on a given day. Or is it because we have other things calling for our attention? And possibly, just possibly they are contrary, moody, and fight against us until there is not a sane bone left in our body.
What is a mom to do? I know some things that helped me. Maybe they’ll help you, too.
Making it easier to enjoy your kids
Ask yourself if the problem is your child or if it is you. Oh I know! Ya da ya da ya da ya da ya . . . “They grow up so fast;” “Enjoy them while they’re young, they’ll be gone before you know it;” “This too shall pass.” The truth is, all of those statements are true. The truth also is, when you’re in the throes of mothering, those statements don’t do a lot to get you through a tantrum-filled day. Figure out why your child is fussy. Does he need more attention from you, not feel well, or is spoiled?
Once you figure out the answer to that question, you will know which road to take from here. If he’s begging for attention because he really does need it, then drop what you’re doing and pay him attention! Other things really can wait. Of course there are times an appointment must be kept or a deadline made.
Are you trying to do too much? Have you volunteered beyond the point of sanity, committed yourself beyond what you are able to do well, or made some choices that were not the best for you or your child? As adults, we do have responsibilities and cannot use the excuse of our child for never fulfilling our responsibilities. Learn to pace yourself and your responsibilities. Your children grow up before you know it.
Your interests and delights are not going anywhere while you parent. Those interests will wait for you. You can claim them once your child is grown and gone. You can ask me how I know, because I really do know what I am talking about here. Be a responsible adult, but be a responsible parent. Only you can give your child what he needs as his mom. Don’t let him down, and don’t resent the time he takes from what you want to enjoy. Make time for yourself, but recognize that you must make time for your child.
Allow your child to belong in your space. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have time alone by yourself, without any little hands patting you and begging for attention. I remember the day I told my kids my name wasn’t “Mama” anymore. I was tired of hearing “Mama!” ALL.THE.TIME. Their puzzled looks made me recant my attitude. Allowing your child to be in your space does mean that you are the parent and you are the one who gets to give sacrificially even when you don’t feel like it. Allow crouching on your space. That is what a child does. And you must open that space and allow him to belong in your space. If you want to parent well, you have no other choice. If you want to parent well, you will not regret making this choice.
When all else fails
On those days when nothing you try works, when you’re weary beyond the point of exhaustion, step back, step away, and step in. Look deeply into the eyes of your child. When did you last hold the wonder of your child in your heart? Delight in the joy of their presence in your world. Cherish their smiles, dimples, and hugs – and imagine how different your world would be should they disappear from your life.
Most nurturing is a natural part of the female nature. That doesn’t automatically induct us into the motherhood hall of fame. Learn to parent well, to keep learning and growing in ways you think are impossible. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”.1 Learn to like being a parent. Grow to love parenting.
Psalms promotes a mother who is joyful. I realize this scripture is talking about a once-barren woman who then has children. She is a “joyful mother of children.” There is no mention of joyous children – only a joyful mother. This scripture makes no mention of tiredness, weariness, or laziness. It does not mean moms cannot be tired or weary. What it tells me is that being a mother is a blessing, and in that we should be joyful. This woman is heralded as a joyful mother of children. Strive to be a joyful mother. That’s when you know you enjoy your kids.