Mom’s of little ones, let’s connect right now. I’m in the throes. Having 3 little ones 5 and under is no joke, it’s a full time job! And hubby says we’re half way done, but we’ll save that for another post ;). Seems these days I’m always in a hurry, but going no where fast. That video on Facebook, live footage of “my kid” getting ready for school, as a snail trails across the floor, it is real! I have always valued punctuality, maybe because I lived with a mom who had no concept of time. It used to drive me nuts to be 15 minutes late to everything and I vowed when I was in control of my own transportation, I would never be late. If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans, right?
Truth be told, now that I’m a mom of three, I see that maybe our perpetual tardiness was actually because of us three kids. Maybe my mom stopped trying to fight it and just began to roll with it. She never seemed to let it bother her, where the hands were on the clock. She still doesn’t, till my dad bothers her about it, haha.
I have always been the type of person to run out with just enough time to make it five minutes early to my destination. Mom lesson #1: It just doesn’t work that way with kids. Expecting the same of my type A oldest son has been plain cruel at times. He needs transition time, and then transition to the transition time. No amount of pleading, prodding, or straight out pushing makes an ounce of difference to kids. It’s like pulling teeth! We all wind up frustrated, sometimes a few tears are shed, and a guilty conscience ensues for mommy. No matter how often I’ve tried to say I will be patient and not let it bother me, I fail to remember that in the moment.
I have since tried to change my schedule to include extra preparation time. I have worked this to a science, and I know it takes at least an extra 30 minutes prep time [per kid] to make it to our destination on time. But then there are the things you just can’t plan for. Sometimes I think my kids enjoy playing tricks on me: Massive poopsplosions in the car seat upon arrival with nary a stray wipe, diaper, or change of clothes in site, because you were working so hard to get the kids out of the house that you forgot to grab the diaper bag (that’s the thanks you get for FINALLY cleaning out the car.)
Then there’s the “I forgot my favorite toy” meltdown, and I need a snack/drink because I’m super hungry/thirsty and I can’t wait. Or endless potty breaks to nasty gas station bathrooms where it takes longer to safely maneuver your way to the toilet than to actually pee, and suddenly they no longer have to go. The “I took off all my tiny pieces of clothing and strategically hid them in nooks and crannies all over this jam-packed car while never leaving my seat, so I could laugh while you frantically do acrobatics trying to find them, to the amusement of the guy next to us trying to get into his car,” is my personal favorite. Don’t get me started on all the things we forget because it takes 3 stuffed suitcases and a packed minivan hood rack to accommodate all the crap kids “need.”
Then it comes, the day you finally get it all together. Kids dressed, fed, clean, and happy, all gear properly strapped into place, and minutes to spare. You are on cloud nine, daydreaming about the standing ovation you will get as mom of the year. You pat yourself on the back, and BRAKE CHECK–traffic jam! It really is impossible.
But I got a reminder from the sweetest 3 year old boy today that I will never forget. In the midst of unpacking groceries and a quick potty break before jet-setting to our next appointment, he walked over to me in the trunk of the van in the most defeated posture. I paused and asked him why he looked so upset, thinking I’d have to scold his older brother. With his little bottom lip protruding, and the saddest blue eyes, he said “I always get left, mom.”
My heart sank.
Why am I always in such a hurry? Is it to impress a bunch of strangers with the perceived ability that I’ve got it all together? Is it pride, selfishness? Is it a sense of control-trying to hold onto the little things I think I can control because everything else in my life is so out of it? I don’t know, but I do know it’s time to reevaluate.
If you can relate, hear my words:
We are leaving behind the most important moments with some of the most important people in our lives, our kids, for things that don’t matter, things that we won’t even remember.
It occurred to me that the only time I ask my kids to slow down is when they are safely in their beds and I want them to stay there for a while. The days are long, and I pray to make it to bedtime. But I’m thankful for that split second of taking time to see the pain I’m causing my little boy in the process of trying to survive. It is time to change. It won’t be easy, and it will take every ounce of leaning on the Holy Spirit.
I want to work on keeping my cool, taking time to help them get their shoes on the right feet rather than yelling at them for not doing it the first ten times I asked. I want to wait for them to finish whatever it is they are doing, instead of walking out the door to show them I mean business. I want to hold their hand on the way to the car, instead of pushing them out the door in tears. And I want to lovingly help, instead of angrily shoving the socks and shoes back on their feet when we get there. No more exaggerated sighs when I look at the clock, or frustrated lectures about their lack of attentiveness and their being at fault for our tardiness. I want them to remember a loving gracious mommy.
I want them to remember that they are more important to me than any time on the clock, or any place we have to be.
Today we took the long way home. The way I never consider anymore because I am too busy trying to speed down the interstate to save a few minutes. It started to rain, so we went even slower down the tree lined, winding roads. They loved it! A back-roads adventure, a place they’d never been to the same old destination. I turned the radio off, and we talked about life, and about a time I used to take these roads just for fun. I remembered why they call it a joy ride.
Mamas, let’s slow down. Let’s be in the moment with them in these years that will pass too quickly. Let’s take them on a joyride through life. I want to make each day an adventure, rather than a terrifying ride I’m dragging them along on.
Let us not forget that the most important thing is not our destination, but the ones in the backseat, and the time it takes to get there. Don’t leave them behind…
Happy Mother’s Day