Today I got to spend the day with my little man at home. Together. Just the two of us. Ok, so we had a couple of errands to run this morning which we got out of the way nice and early, but then we had the rest of the day to ourselves. Term time means racing between school and work, work and school, school and afternoon activities, preparing dinner, the occasional evening activity and eventually flopping onto the couch after 8pm to have it all start again the next day, so today was pure bliss.
So what to do…….his idea of fun was to spend time on Xbox as he’s been at holiday programmes all week so far and needs time to do what he enjoys. My idea of fun was putting on a movie, grabbing a bag of snacks and snuggling on the couch together. It’s raining after all, and who doesn’t enjoy that? Except that when he was little-er it was easier to plan an activity and coax him into doing it while having fun. I could be silly or funny or even use a little subtle bribery, but nowadays, he sees through that and it’s not really how I want to be interacting with him anymore. So how do you get to enjoy time with your kids when they’re a little older and have their own plans? We ended up having a bit of a “discussion”.
Don’t get me wrong, he was very keen to join me on the couch for the movie, but not so keen to wait while lunch was prepared, or help out with a few chores so that we could get onto the fun stuff. We’ve always been rather strict and have good boundaries, but as he is an only child, we take care not to overload him with chores that other families might split between two, three or four kids. We teach him that we need to get the work done before the play…like eating your fruit/veggies before the treats. He gets it, but would still prefer Mum to take care of things. Which kid wouldn’t?
He ended up helping unload the dishwasher and packing everything away. Asking him questions about where he thought things might go that he wasn’t sure of by grouping similar items together got him thinking and although it took longer than if I had just done it myself, it was a good experience for us both. He packs the dishwasher, but is new to unpacking it. We discussed Team Work, and how the house belongs to us all and we are therefore all responsible for taking care of it. We also discussed how by taking time off work to spend it with him, I actually wanted to spend it with him, not on social media, catching up on my knitting, ironing, house work or working on Chocolate Goose while he entertained himself. There were a few tears (from us both) and a little frustration (from us both), but we got there in the end and worked together to tidy a few things and prepare lunch. Then thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon activity together.
Yesterday a special friend sent me a photo of her lounge floor, complete with mounds of toys and her little man very busy with his trucks. She is like me, everything has it’s place and we get a bit stressy when surrounded by a mess. Order is a good thing. It keeps me calm. She’s the same. But she works full-time and also only gets to take the odd day off to be with her children. So on those occasions, even she is happy to put up with a little mayhem. I love the photo and asked if I could post it here. The sign of a happy and contented child totally engaged with his toys in the safety, security and comfort of his own home. I wish more children were blessed to grow up like that. My advice to her was to leave him to it, and to watch where she steps so she didn’t trip over anything. We’ve all done that.
The journey of Motherhood is a blessing and joy I couldn’t begin to understand prior to becoming a Mum. To first time expectant mums around the world, your life will change in unimaginable ways. So much better in so many ways, but also just completely different. As for me, it’s Friday evening and I’m off to have another cuddle while I still can.