I love reading mommy blog posts. I find them inspiring and I love getting new ideas from others. However, I have noticed quite a few of them talking about spending more time with your kids and not worry so much about homemaking duties. These articles, though good reminders to be purposeful with your kids, always leave me discouraged.
Should I stop spending so much time doing dishes? Or laundry? Or fixing dinner? Or meal planning? Should I focus most of my day in playing with my kids and give them all of my attention? Aren’t memories more important than a clean house? Kids will only be kids for a short time, why not make sure it lasts as long as possible?
The truth is, I have more responsibility as a mom, a wife, a family member, a christian and a homemaker than just play with my kids all day. This sounds harsh but it’s the reality of life. Things have to get done. And if I spend a good portion of my day doing it, then that’s what I am going to do. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t ignore my kids. I invite them and guide them to do what I am doing. But, sometimes I do tell them to go to their rooms and play quietly because mama needs to get some stuff done (or I just need a breather!)
We build lots of fun memories together. We go to the park, visit relatives, do crafts, catch ladybugs…
But my kids know there is a time for work and a time for play. In order for our household to move smoothly, we have to work at it. Things just don’t happen. Dinner doesn’t magically appear. The house doesn’t have a cleaning auto pilot button and the chaos of life doesn’t organize itself into a structured game plan.
Do I want my kids have fun memories of me? Yes, absolutely! I also want them to remember me as a great example that they can look up to when they become adults some day. Mommy didn’t play games all day. She was a hard working woman! No lazy streak here. I want to show my girls what a woman is to do to take care of her family. I want to show my boys how much work it takes to run a household so they can appreciate their wives someday and be mindful in cleaning up after themselves.
Let’s be real. Who actually plays with their kids all day long? I feel like Satan likes to feed off our mommy guilt. So you didn’t have time to put that puzzle together with your daughter. It’s OK. You had to get dinner on the table. You know, you had to feed her. Maybe you can do it after the dinner dishes are done. Or maybe have her help you with the dinner and have a mother-daughter bonding moment then.
Or here is different scenario: Your husband comes home from work and the house is trashed, dinner isn’t done and you forgot to pay the utility bill he asked you to drop off. He responds by saying “what have you done all day?” You get offended by such an insensitive question. ” Playing and taking care of the kids. You know, it’s a full time job!” you quickly respond while rolling your eyes…
Girl! You did not spend that much time focused on your kids! You got distracted with Facebook or a phone call to a girlfriend or whatever wasted your time. I can say this because I am so guilty too. Don’t make “spending time with your kids,” an excuse for your lack of discipline.
Our kids pick up things. They are very observant human beings. I feel like my kids always seem to pick up on my not so great qualities before anything else. I think it’s God’s way of holding a mirror up to our own selfish motives. If you keep your house a mess, most likely your kids are going to be slobs. If you run to fast food because you didn’t plan ahead, your kid will learn bad eating habits and/ or bad time management skills. I’m sorry if this sounds harsh. I don’t mean to be. It’s just fact. Our kids learn by example.
If I don’t have my house in order, I may not be failing as a mom but I am failing as a homemaker. If I don’t have dinner done by the time my husband gets home, I am not failing as a wife but I just put my tired hungry husband in a uncomfortable position. (The man gets hungry after working all day.) If I don’t take time to hunt for bargains and make wise budgeting decisions, then our goals to be financially free will cease. All these things need to get done. And my kids need to see that.
They need to know that mommy can’t always play with them. At times, they need to help or play on their own so to give mommy space to finish her task. They need to learn that life doesn’t revolve around them and their happiness. They need to learn the outcome of hard work and the consequences of laziness. Play comes after responsibilities and pride comes with productivity.
I am not disregarding the value or the authenticity of heart from these “spend more time with your kids” articles. Like I said, they are good reminders to slow down and treasure the precious moments we have with our little ones. I would just like to encourage you mothers to not feel guilty about doing what you have to do to take care of your family and household. Find a balance in both and teach your kids that serving others is hard work. And that sacrificing ourselves is the ultimate form of love.