I have been feeling rather run down lately. The last few weeks have just been hectic on all fronts; work, home, socially – it’s been one of those months where I don’t know where the time has gone, and it feels like I haven’t spent any of that time in my bed asleep. And what with a teething baby, a “terrible-twos” toddler, my work husband (I’m a personal assistant) and my real life husband, it just seems like I am being pulled in every direction. I start tasks and never find the time to finish them, or finish them shoddily and then feel guilty. I feel bad for losing my inch-thin patience with the kids who demand my full and constant attention at all times and for my poor real life husband who has to bear the brunt of my foul moods. I sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, or days in the week to just DO what needs to be DONE, let alone going above and beyond.
I often wonder how my mother did it, she had four children, a full time job and the home fires were always kept burning. I do recall certain times when we were particularly troublesome and she’d yell something along the lines of how sick and tired she was of us and how she wanted to run away – not verbatim, but something along those lines. But on the whole, my mother ranked #1 for being perfect in every way, and still is!
So this got me thinking about what sort of legacy I’d like to leave for my kids.. I don’t want them to remember me as the tired old hag that could barely drag herself off the couch to go and kick a ball outside. Or the kill joy who was always saying NO to everything, or the blur who was always rushing around, not a minute to smell the flowers and just enjoy each other’s company. I want to be fun-mum, my kids must WANT to spend time with me, I want them to understand that even when I discipline them, it’s coming from a place of love and concern. I want to be the type of mum with whom they can discuss anything – no holds barred. I want them to think I am cool, even when they raise questions about the human anatomy that I can’t answer without swallowing hard and choosing my answers verrrry carefully, I want them to know that nothing is off limits. But how do I go about this? I barely have time to make Two Minute Noodles, let alone be cool and suave and show them how well I can flip pancakes (which I can’t, but you know what I mean). I want to add value to the time I spend with my children. By doing seemingly inconsequential little things every day, I can enforce my “coolness” and with a one and a two year old, you don’t have to do much to be cool, believe me. And if I cultivate this sort of relationship from this early age, I won’t have to put in that much effort as they grow, because my cool factor would have established itself!
So I’m going to make more of an effort and colour in the 100th page for the 100th time that day, because Liam loves to colour and Hannah loves to eat crayons. I’m going to let them smear cake mix all over the kitchen table top and all over themselves because it’s fun to make 12 minute cupcakes in 2 hours. I’m going to let them jump on the beds – they don’t weigh enough to break any springs anyway. I’ll let them brush my hair even though it HURTS when two pairs of little hands are stabbing at your scalp with a plastic comb. I’ll read The Silly Little Goose over and over and over again, because it makes them laugh. I’ll make sure there’s always bird seed in the house, because they love covering the lawn, and the garden toys and the veranda in bird seed so that the birdies don’t go hungry and well Hannah loves eating bird seed. I won’t rush through prayers, even though Liam prays for the whole family by name, down to Toto the dog. I will let them put loads of unnecessary groceries into the trolley and secretly dispose of them in the next aisle, even though this doubles the shopping time, because they think shopping is a treat – while I cringe at the idea of having to grocery shop with two toddlers in tow. I’ll laugh instead of shout when I find the Tupperware cupboard’s been unpacked by Hannah AGAIN, and I’ll show her how to pack it all back, instead of flinging plastic back into place, in frustration. She’s so good at unpacking.. but packing.. not so much.
And just by changing my attitude and making these small little changes to the way we are currently doing things in my crazy time strapped household, I know my cool rating will shoot through the roof. You see, being “cool” to a kid is easy.. it’s being there mentally and emotionally and not just physically; its listening, not just hearing; its teaching by example and its using every day experiences to teach them something new and amazing – like making beautiful blowing bubbles from dish washing liquid – WOW! So I’m going to try and find little things that will make a big difference to the way I raise these babies of mine, so that my legacy will be one that they will speak of proudly, years after my bubble blowing days are over.