I am home all day, every day. As a result, my kids should never have to worry about getting enough of my time or attention. But recently I have realized that I don't do a very good job actually giving them my full attention. Sure they have my time; I am their caregiver and I am always here to provide safety, food, a kiss for a boo-boo and love. However, my direct attention is something they that I feel, they get too rarely. Yes, I listen when they talk and respond accordingly. I am always aware of where they are or what they are doing. But am I engaging them? Do I treat them with respect the way I would another adult?
At lunch today, I was sitting with Evan and Maggie at the table eating. But while they ate, I was thinking about, and working on projects for Teacher Appreciation Week next week. Much too often I use this valuable time with them to complete other tasks. I will empty the dishwasher, check email or blog, clean up around the room or do other things that I feel need to be done. I'm guessing in all reality, they really don't care that I'm pre-occupied while they eat, but I should care. I should set that time aside for them and focus my attention on their company. They may only be 5, 3 and a baby, but I'm going to lose this quality time with them all too quickly. So from now on, I'm going to try very hard to forget about the other things going on and sit with them even if I'm not eating at the same time. Maggie may not be able to converse yet, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind making faces at me while she eats. Braeden and Evan always have lots to say and it's time I started really listening.
I find myself caught up in this trap in almost every aspect of my daily life. I've always got a thousand things to do. But I don't think being in the same house with them counts the way sitting down on the floor and playing does. I need to stop worrying about getting the laundry changed over or typing up a flyer for school during the hours that should be theirs. Obviously there are always exceptions. I can't wait and do everything at night after they go to bed, but I will try to manage my time during the day so that I am either getting my stuff done or being the best mom possible. When it is their time, it needs to be only their time. I don't mean at all to sound like I neglect my kids; for sure I do not. I am hands-on a lot of the time and always willing to stop and play or do an activity at their request, but I feel like my focus is a little off kilter, and I'm out to create more of an even balance. After all, as the song says, ...they're only this way for a while.