Parenting is supposed to be hard. I truly believe this and I am OK with that. We don’t want our kids to fit into these perfect little boxes that most of society thinks they should fit into. We want them to be who they are! Does this make life challenging – YES! Every single day multiple times a day! But we think it is worth it.
The problem is lately I have felt that I am “losing” my kids. Part of the benefit of taking this parenting approach with our kids is that we hope to build a strong lifetime of friendship and respect. I have felt that slipping away and that I have become too much of a dictator. Yes with 4 kids there has to be some control just to make sure everyone – including Craig and I – get what we need. But I have to be careful how much control I take. At the end of the day when I think back over the day, I have not been happy with a lot of my decisions and actions.
I was talking to Craig about it the other night and his suggestion was just to play with them more. Yes – that sounds so simple and with kids – it really is that simple. Then why is it so HARD?!!! I know for me it has to do with having 4 kids. As soon as I sit down to play everyone is on top of me and wants my attention – which then gets overwhelming, fighting starts, people get angry and it all turns into a big mess and no fun for anyone. The other reason is there is always a 100 things to get done – which I know every parent can relate to! It seems all day long I am making meals, getting food, changing diapers, changing clothes, helping open that, fixing this, working, etc, etc. Then before I know it, it is bedtime and I haven’t sat down for more than maybe a few minutes – if that – with any of the kids. I am not ok with that!!
So I came up with a plan – in the morning I will work out, eat my breakfast, take a shower, work, whatever it may be but at 10am all that stops. Then from 10am until 12pm each kid gets a half hour of undivided attention. This is when I will make it a priority to have quality time with the kids. During this time they can pick whatever they want to do – play with toys, watch a movie, look something up on the internet, do makeup, talk, play hide and seek, whatever it is that they want to do (inside of the fact that I still have to keep on an eye on the other 3). So I woke up this morning and told the kids the plan. They sounded intrigued and seemed excited!
To be honest I was nervous! For me this was going to be 2 hours of no straightening up, laundry, phone calls to get things done, getting food ready, planning the day, checking into work items, checking my phone, etc. Was I going to be able to do it? And was I going to be able to stay totally engaged?!
At 10am I started with Knox – I was hoping if he had my attention first he would be ok with me giving attention to the other 3 later. We played trains and then read a Ninjago book – it was so cool to hear his ideas while we played and the time went by fast!
It is amazing when I slow down and focus – how cool my kids really are and how enjoyable it is to spend time just playing with them!
Next was Cannon’s turn. He wanted to go for a walk with me and a bike ride. Usually this wouldn’t work because of the other kids – but Craig was able to keep an eye on the other kids – so we went for it. We walked a little bit then road our bikes all over the campground. It was so fun! Then we had to stop at the park to play a quick game of hide and seek and we were back.
Wow that hour went fast!
Next was Melia’s turn she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. I said how about you do my makeup – she is really into makeup right now. She got super excited and gave me a makeover, then picked out the outfit I had to wear (a dress, sweater, and heels). When we were done we played princess and queen and snuggled in bed. It was so nice!
Then it was Carson’s turn. He wanted me to read him his minecraft books. We laid back in bed and read the books and talked about his minecraft. Then we did some research on the computer about minecraft on Xbox versus a PC. It is so amazing the stuff he has learned about minecraft all on his own. And so cool to sit down and listen to him tell me about it!
At the end of the time Carson said – Mommy can we do this everyday? I said why do you want to? He said YES!! He then told the other kids – guess what we get to do this everyday with Mommy! That is when I knew I had made the right decision and that whatever we need to do we need to make sure this happens as often as possible! In reality I know everyday probably won’t happen but I am going to strive for at least 3 times a week! I know 30 minutes in a whole day isn’t very much but it really seemed like it made a big impact on the day. Everyone seemed happier for the rest of the day. They are all making plans for what we are going to do for our 30 minutes tomorrow and I am not nervous about if I can do the 2 hours I am excited about it!
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