For me, a new year is always a good time to make a fresh start. To renew goals, to make positive changes, and to focus on becoming a better version of myself. One of the things I want for this year is to become a more connected mom. A more hands-on mom. A more in-the-moment mom.
I am blessed to stay home full-time with my two precious little ones. At 1 year and almost 3 years old, they are so fun to be with. They make me laugh all day, they delight in the world around them and they are full of boundless energy. They love to give hugs and cuddles and sing and dance. They are, in a word, fun!
And yet too often I find myself not engaging fully with them.
My mind is running in 57 directions when I sit down with them for meals. My phone is glued to my hand as I sit in the playroom surrounded by their giggles and shrieks. I stress and obsess about the piles of laundry or dishes and cut playtime short so I can work on cooking, cleaning and organizing.
But not this year. This year I’m turning over a new parenting leaf and making a vow to myself that time with my children will be my primary focus.
I vow to leave the phone upstairs more while we’re in the playroom. I vow to keep the laptop closed until they go down for nap or bedtime. I vow to let the dishes and the laundry pile up a little without stressing. I vow to include my little ones in the process of cooking, baking and cleaning, even if it takes longer and isn’t done perfectly. (After all, these things do need to get done at some point, and my children love to help!)
Being a stay-at-home mom means that the majority of household tasks fall to me. But when it comes down to it, dishes, laundry and dirty bathrooms are not the most important part of my job. Raising my children is, and they deserve the most of my time and energy. And really, I want to be having fun with them!
When we’re outside at the playground I want to play instead of standing on the side watching. I want to push them on the swings and laugh as they swish through the sky. I want to run through the grass and stop to examine the plush carpet beneath our feet. I want to point out clouds and slide down the slides.
I want to play dollhouse and trains and cars, not just sit in the same room as these activities go on around me. I want to curl up on the couch and watch a movie with my daughter on rainy days instead of using her movie-time as an opportunity to crack open the computer. I want to read to my son whenever he toddles over with a board book, even if it means stepping away from a half-folded basket of clothes. I want to create crafts with my daughter instead of just providing her with the materials.
And I will! This is the year that I devote myself to being in-the-moment and fully interacting with my kids. Not every second of course…learning how to play independently is important and Mommy definitely needs some down-time. But I want our days to feature more engaged connections than non-engaged ones. I want to take full part in their early childhood, because I know that too soon these opportunities will be gone. They’ll be involved with school and extracurricular activities, and playtime with mom will be low on their priority level. So right now, while I still have this time, I will soak up every minute with them. We will play and dance and just…be together. Bring it on 2013!