So here we go! I will preface this by confessing that I am a get on the floor kind of mom. I have 3 girls 5 and under, I am a speech pathologist currently based in an elementary school, so I basically have kids around me 24-7. What I have learned about kids is they crave time with the adults in their lives. Don’t get me wrong, they love toys and experiences, but most kids will tell you that their favorite thing is when their parents play with them.
You may not be a play on the floor kind of mom. That’s okay because let’s be honest your house is probably impeccably decorated and there’s no sensory bin stored under your china cabinet. You probably didn’t go to Target and suddenly remember that while you did buy baking soda to make exploding snowmen you forgot to put shoes on your baby. We all have our strengths. So while I attempt to motivate and inspire you to embrace the mess maybe one of you will decide it’s your calling to be my personal assistant and help me show up anywhere on time. No takers? Maybe pray about it?
My personality naturally loves messy play. We have two messy sensory bins that I rotate every month and when I’m off work we typically do a hands on activity or art project every day. That is normal to me and I love it. The same traits that inspired me to work with children and create my own personal dance troop are the same things that make my love of mess and coordinated crazy enjoyable. I literally talk (and attempt to get children to talk more) for a living so a quiet house makes me feel itchy and confused. You may not be the same way and that is totally okay. My goal here is not for you to look at what I’m doing and feel bad or that you could never do all this stuff. I don’t want you to think that what I’m doing is right and you are wrong, that I’ve got things figured out, or that you have to implement all the ideas that I’m sharing.
Instead, I want you to feel empowered with how easy it is to guide your child’s development. I want time with your kids to be meaningful for them AND for you. I want you to feel like a good mom because you spent some semi-uninterrupted, quality time with your kids.
In my last post I asked if there has ever been a time when a friend called to tell you that she was killing the 3 year old game. It was a rhetorical question (unless you were one of the people I freaked out to over the past 2 weeks) but the more I’ve been thinking the more I wonder what I would say if a friend called me with this news. After picking myself off the floor, I want to believe that I would be super excited, ask how she did it, and hang up feeling happy for a fellow mom in the fight. Hopefully my first inclination would be “Well, I’m just glad someone’s got this down.” Because ultimately I want to be a cheerleader for my friends, knowing that once we let doubt creep into our parenting we start making mistakes. I want to build my fellow moms up so that they are making good choices and loving their families to the best of their abilities. When we feel like we are doing a bad job we over indulge, retreat, or plummet into a mindset that negatively directs our next steps.
The bottom line is that we all do things differently, but we’re all showing up for our kids. We all have strengths and weakness we are better for sharing. On those days when you aren’t sure how you will ever make it to nap time without freaking out (or freaking out again) or what you’re going to do when you stumble home exhausted, depleted, and immediately have to cook dinner I hope that you will find this as a resource and encouragement.
When my oldest daughter was 2 I read this article. The author's language spoke to me in a way that radically changed my parenting. She directed me to remember the importance of being present, and more importantly the need for the spiritual wisdom to “number our days.” As I have fought against God’s inevitable direction to writing this blog, Psalm 90:12 has surfaced in many different contexts. Ultimately, God is calling us realize the brevity of our lives, to fully experience His love for us, and to show the love we have been shown.
As mothers, it is easy to get caught up in the to-do lists. My prayer for us all is that we are able to laugh more with the people who gave us our job, that we feel more of the strength rather than the weight of motherhood, and that we be surrounded by other moms who just get us and what we are going through. So while I’ve yet to have friend call to praise her parenting efforts, I’m hoping that today you have the opportunity to lead the charge. Maybe today is the day we all start encouraging each other instead of doubting and destroying each other. Maybe today you will open a box, kiss your kid, and remind yourself that you got this.