Disclaimer ~ This post is not supposed to sound moody, or down on anyone. I believe that all mothers, those that stay at home and those that work full time can equally be wonderful mothers. Can be... those that choose to be. Maybe I'll just start.
It's simple really. Thursday is the only day we don't have to go somewhere after school. Sure, there's homework and a viola or two to practice but that empty afternoon calendar makes me giddy. So what's simple? A tea party of course.
I brew the herbal tea, the girls choose their tea cups, I put biscuits on my Grandmother's plate. There are already pumpkin placemats on the table. We don't need the dining room. The round kitchen table with the sunlight streaming through is just perfect.
Abigail giggles knowing that she'll overdo her spoon in the sugar bowl.
And I sigh and take it all in.
Littleness all around me.
We have lots to talk about. But yet not much of anything important.
It's just me and my girls.
And I'm reminded
I'm not done yet
They still need me
Touch and eye contact
Listening and really hearing
I know, and I'm sure you do too, so so so many parents who are hands off. They come in from school and run off to do their own thing. It's always a play date or it could be even good for you outdoor play. But never together; like really together.
And I'm not talking about working mothers and 'stay at home' mothers. I know plenty of working mothers who are with their children and don't stop parenting when their children are potty trained. And I know plenty of stay at home mothers who are just getting through the years til their kids are school aged and then 'they're done'.
So so so many parents think they're done when their child can get dressed, get off to school, does well enough in school and is an over all 'good kid'. Why do they let go then? Don't they know that while babies demand the care and parenting attention, our ten year olds still need that care and parenting attention?
I'm not a perfect mother. I make mistakes every single day. But I parent every single day.
Mothering is more than shouting upstairs to their room or outside, "come in for dinner!" or "did you do your homework?"
Parenting is sometimes helping them with their homework and always checking their homework. Not so that it's done perfectly or even that it's done but just letting your child know you're there every single step of the way.
Parenting is not homemade biscuits and herbal tea either; I know that. Real, authentic, caring parenting can be a cuddle on the couch with Bernstein Bears on. It's the watching it together that counts. I like the biscuits and the tea but I like the leggos and the doll play too. The read alouds, the pumpkin patch books and the orange twinkle lights in the background. But that's just me.
I'm 'preaching to the choir' here. Every single blog I read (and you know who you are) stirs up in me better parenting, a more calm approach, a major life decision to home school to spend that amazing time with your children, or a simple breakfast at Panera when a morning isn't going well instead of rushing them off to school when a mood could be changed. I'm in awe of the farewell dinner in the old house and the Family Day in the Park. I love it and learn from it all; all of you.
There is one thing that I know for sure. I have today. They are ten and six on this October Friday just once. I can be with them or I can get things done. Getting things done sure feels good and needs to happen but oh man, being with them feels even better.
This weekend, despite the lists and the must get dones, I'm being with them. Parenting them. It's not all warm in fuzzy over here. I know they'll be some real parenting; and maybe even within the first 5 minutes after the school bell rings but I'm in it; all of it for good.
I'll correct a tone of voice, and teach another how to turn her day around (as I try to do the same for myself).
I'll praise the sweet thank you and how one goes to get a tissue for another.
I'll remind a older one to not be so bossy and a little one to not be so manipulative.
But I'll praise them for always playing together.
I'll enjoy the giggles but find a way to be creative to bring down the crazy behavior at bedtime.
I'll get annoyed at the not tidy room but listen to them fall asleep.
It's all motherhood and I'm not done yet.
In a society that endorses activity, I think we would all do well to put more trust in stillness. No matter how busy we are, we can find meaning and renewal in those moments that are available to us. We can come together in an intimate way, even at the end of a long, draining day, if we are willing to be fully present with our children - to take the time to hear their confidences and to respond from the heart. We can teach them to value of a deep breath, of a spiritual pause, of rest, if we take the time... Katrine Kenison from Mitten Strings for God