Friday, April 15, 2011

“I don’t have time for this” Thursday

This clock sure does make you stop and think, doesn't it? Image found here

Yesterday, that blessed Thursday, was one of those days where I got out of bed and my feet hit the ground running. Tell me if you’ve had days like this:

I woke up at 6:30 am and made sugar cookie dough, then made breakfast, then cleaned up from breakfast, then rolled, cut, and baked the sugar cookies, then cleaned up the cookie-making-mess, then showered at lightning speed so that I could run out the door to my daughter’s voice lessons, grabbing snacks and all the items we would need for all the events of the next five hours.

After voice lessons we rushed to get lunch before dropping my four-year-old at preschool--sugar cookies included. Then my two-year-old and I rushed to meet my mother and sister in town to find dresses for my brother’s upcoming wedding--upcoming being NEXT WEEK! After scouring the racks for all the right colors and sizes, calling three other stores to find just one more size...who knew finding two dresses in 4T would be such a challenge!--I ran back to preschool to catch the last fifteen minutes of the Easter party (for which those sugar cookies were required), before heading home to watch a few more kids while their mommy went to the doctor (which, by the way, was the easiest part of my day because my children were entertained and happy, allowing me to make some much needed phone calls).

Next, it was dinner time. I had not planned it out and was feeling too drained to care much. Thanks to a fabulous hubby returned home from work, we actually ate something great and I was able to take care of some more wedding details and planning. Then it was time for jammies and teeth brushing for the little ones, and off to a meeting at church for me. When I arrived home at nearly 9:00 pm, I spent a little time on the couch with my man, and then it was right to the computer to finish designing and editing the photo sign-in book for the aforementioned wedding. By the time I climbed back into bed at 11:30 pm, I was beat! That was a 17-hour marathon day!

Thursday was a whirlwind, sprinkled with phone calls and planning in between all the running around. I’m sure it’s not much different for many other mommies out there, and maybe even mild compared to some. But with all of the people I spoke to, and all of the things I did, the one moment that keeps replaying in my mind is one that I wish I could go back and change.

Picture it raining outside, because that is just what it does here, and I am standing at my daughter’s car door. Leaning in to buckle her straps, I am forcing her rigid body to bend into the car seat. She is crying and screaming and I am yelling in that repressed “I-don’t-want-the-other-mom-in-the-parking-lot-to-hear-me” tone of voice saying,

“I don’t have time for this!”

My poor daughter. How many days do I spend running around trying to do too many things, only to unintentionally tell her “I don’t have time for you today.”?

Granted, she was acting horribly. I am typically a mother of tough-love when it comes to fit-throwing, and this one definitely did not warrant any special treatment. But was her behavior simply a reaction to my busy and disconnected behavior? It was that moment, as those words came out of my mouth with such frustration, when I realized what I was saying. And I am sure she felt it just as much as I did.

I should have time to let my children express themselves. I need to have time to hear what they have to tell me.

So today, I’m doing things differently. This morning we played with legos together. We ate a cookie together. We took turns blowing each other’s noses. And now we’ll go have some lunch together. I’m not even dressed yet, but today I am making time for my daughters. I don’t care what day it is, today is a day to let myself slow down a bit. And that means not being too busy to stop and listen when they need me to, not being so rushed that I can’t pay attention to what they are telling me, and allowing myself to enjoy the process of mothering.

How do you deal with all the tasks and duties of taking care of children without forgetting to really care for them?

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