I feel like I’ve been sounding like a broken record lately, but mommas, I’m exhausted. If I could only use one word to describe how I feel right now during this stage of parenting I am in, that would be it.
I’m a mom of two girls: a three-year-old and a four-month-old. Daily life can feel like a lot of work sometimes, and work can seem like a vacation. Other than the whole working thing. (Being able to drink your coffee hot and in peace is a little slice of heaven, amiright?)
But amidst the hustle and bustle and between the times of chaos throughout the day, there are moments I treasure.
Because no matter what the schedule throws our way, there are five things I do every day to connect with my girls – and my husband. Traditions I hope to carry on over the next several years.
1. Goodbye hugs and kisses
Don’t get me started on weekday mornings. There is no other word besides chaos to describe the hustle and bustle of getting everyone ready and out the door before 7:30 am.
But no matter how late we are running, I always pause before we leave. I stop and help my daughter get her shoes and coat on before embracing her in my arms and smothering her cheeks with kisses. And I don’t hesitate to kiss her baby sister and my hubby goodbye, too. I want them to remember my love and affection for them throughout the day. Not the meltdown that may have happened over breakfast.
2. Tell them, “I love you.”
It’s the last thing I say to my family before I leave for work in the morning, and it’s also one of the first things I say when they wake up. I tell them right before bedtime. And pretty much all the time. I want my family to always know just how much I love them.
3. Make eye contact and really listen
During the week, it’s easy to get caught up in the morning and evening routines and moving from one thing to the next. And of course, small children are notoriously slow when you don’t want them to be. As frustrating as that can be sometimes, I’ve realized that a few minutes in my day isn’t going to make or break anything.
Children want to go at their own pace, and more importantly, they want to be heard and understood. So when my three-year-old stops to ask me a question or needs help with something she probably already knows how to do, instead of sighing or asking her to figure it out, I stop. I get down on her level and look into her eyes. I want my daughter to know I am there for her and I hear her. That I understand her concerns. That I know her heart and desires. That I support her and am so incredibly proud of her.
4. Engage in their world
Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, I always try to engage in their world. My three-year-old loves to play pretend and make up silly games, and she thinks it’s the best thing ever when I play along. I love to see the joy she has when I share in these experiences with her. And I love to see my baby’s eyes light up and watch her smile as I “play” with her and help her roll over, showing her some of her favorite toys. These are my favorite moments of every day. When I take the time to be present and be still.
5. Make time for myself and my husband
Some days, my “me time” may be only 15 minutes after the kids go to bed. Or it may be spent multi-tasking. (Netflix and laundry folding is my regular, almost-nightly routine.) But taking this time for me every day to rest and recover is essential. I need it for the sake of my sanity.
I also need time with my hubby to make sure we are communicating and connecting. Even if it’s over the dinner table while the toddler is singing her favorite songs from daycare. We find our moments each day to really hear from each other and connect, and for that I am so grateful.
I know each age and stage will have its own version of chaos, but it is my hope that we will not just remember the crazy, but that we will embrace the good, beautiful moments we share. Because Lord knows we are not perfect and our days are far from it, but we are so blessed by each other.
This stage of life is so hard and exhausting, but it is so beautiful. Each day, I am thankful for the opportunity to be quiet and be still.
As hard as the days can be, I don’t want to wish them away. I don’t want to take this time for granted. Because this time, the people I share this life with, they are what I am thankful for the most.
You know what? I take back what I said earlier. If I could use one word to describe this stage of life I’m in, it would be blessed.
What are some things you want to do every day?