Wait a Minute, Honey
“Wait a minute, honey!”
“Just a sec.”
How many times a day do we say this phrase or variations of it to our kids?
There’s always something to do. Dinner doesn’t cook itself. Dishes don’t wash themselves. Laundry doesn’t fold itself. It seems every day is filled with a “to-do” list that somehow adds 2 new items every time you cross off one.
Are we always telling our children to wait when they want our attention so that we can cross of an important task on our list?
I want to stop for a minute and reiterate the fact that there must be a balance. This will look different for different families in various seasons in their lives. There are times where you simply can’t stop what you’re doing to attend to your child, and frankly, I don’t think you should feel you have to every time. I don’t believe a child should grow up thinking they’re the most important person in the world. Important and special, yes, but more important than everyone else? Nope. It’s our job to teach our kids manners, and dropping every task or adult conversation running to them everytime they holler “Mom, mom, mom” is only going to raise an entitled, impatient child.
That being said, we want to communicate to our children that they are precious to us, that what they have to say matters, and that we enjoy spending time with them.
If all they hear from us is “hold on a minute, honey,” then we are communicating the opposite. They will feel unimportant and like a nuisance to us, the person who is supposed to love them the most in all the world.
When you’re in the season of life that I’m currently in, the season of young (extremely needy) children, it’s so difficult to find that balance. It’s something I’ve been working on with the help of the Lord, and will need to work on until I find that balance. I’m learning a lot in my ‘quest for balance,’ and of course, I’ll be sharing a lot of my journey with you.
I can’t do it all.
I just can’t. I can’t keep my house spic and span, my kids fed healthy food every time they’re hungry (which happens to be every 11 seconds), and keep up with all of my responsibilities at the church. We’re all busy moms, so I know you can relate.
Ideally, every evening, a healthy homecooked meal would have been fed to my family, with extras in the freezer for next week. The floor would have been swept and mopped, and all dishes washed, dried and put away, toys picked up, and any computer work finished before I tuck the kids into bed at night.
In reality, that rarely happens.
I do try to cook healthy dinners each night, but that’s no guarantee my children will eat them. If rice was on the menu, I wait at least an hour to sweep after dinner because dried rice is a lot easier to sweep up than sticky rice. The period of time after dinner and before bedtime tends to be semi-chaotic around here. Both kids get wild and destructive (though they usually remain happy, thankfully!) Toys and books almost cover the carpet because apparently if they can’t see every item they own at the same time, they aren’t satisfied. We play trains and cars and dinosaurs. We build tall towers and knock them down. I give horsey rides and build forts. I fill milk cups and read 13 books.
Bathtime is messy. Sometimes I try to clean the bathroom while the kids bathe. Last night Charlie threw an almost full bottle of shampoo out of the tub, breaking the lid and making a huge mess on the floor. Needless to say, the toilet and sink didn’t get scrubbed and shined last night. (The floor sparkles though 🙂 ) I laughed with them when they pretended to be swimming dinosaurs and made Santa Claus beards out of bubbles.
When there are a million things I could be doing, I focus on my children.
I used to walk downstairs feeling overwhelmed after putting the kids to bed. There was a lot waiting for me. The dinner mess, the bathtime mess, the toys and books all over, not to mention blog posts that need to be written, emails that need to be returned, Sunday School lessons that need to be written, and events that need to be planned.
In spite of the state of my house, I feel fulfilled knowing that I’ve made my children feel important. We exercised our imaginations. We laughed. We had fun. Now they’re falling asleep after playing with mom. I didn’t make them feel like a nuisance. They don’t think mommy would rather clean than play with them. They don’t think that computer work comes before them. No, I cleared my mind of my “to-do” list and focused on them for those 2 hours.
On evenings that I do that, instead of feeling overwhelmed at the downstairs mess, I set a timer and do as much as I can for a certain amount of time, and focus on that. Now I don’t feel guilty washing the dishes because my son is asking me to play with him. I can focus on my to-do list knowing I already filled my kids’ love banks.
After my timer goes off (the time varies depending on the day) I stop. If my house isn’t perfect, that’s ok. I need time to read, to blog, to prepare lessons, to spend time with my husband if he’s home.
I’ll save the vacuuming for tomorrow. Or wash the pots and pans in the morning.
It doesn’t bother me as much anymore. I realized that saying “hold on” to my list is OK, and saying “hold on” to my kids all of the time is not.
God blessed me greatly with my children. He chose my husband and me to nurture them, to prepare them for adulthood, to teach them to be good people. I don’t want to enter the next season of parenting and regret what I prioritized during this season in my life.
I still say “hold on a minute, honey” to my kids, that’s just life. But I’m learning not to say it so often. My house isn’t perfect. My blog posts aren’t always on time, but I’m still learning. The Lord is helping me find the balance I’m looking for. Don’t try to do it on your own. Ask for His help. Don’t try to get your life together without the One who gave you life. If you feel like you can’t do anything right, start with your time with God. Make sure you’re spending time with Him and reading His word. If you start focusing on time with Him, He will help you find the balance you’re looking for.
Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” …even raise happy children.