The first came as I went to complete the second task on my planner: change the kids’ sheets. I hesitated before I took Alyssa’s pillow cases and her favorite blanket to put in the washing machine. I should have listened to that small voice but I didn’t.
She was not happy.
After it washed, I showed her how we have to put it in the dryer. After a little protest, the beloved pillow cases and blanket were set to dry. When they came out, Alyssa was thrilled! So thrilled that she brought me her Minnie and her other pillow and wanted to wash it. Since I was done with laundry today, I told her no.
She was ten times more not happy.
I tried reasoning with her. “I understand you want to wash your Minnie, but Mommy is done with laundry.” Wail. I tried laying down the law, “Alyssa we don’t act like this when we don’t get our way. You have to control your emotions.” Wail, hyperventilate. Finally, I pulled out the last tool in my box: distraction. “It’s reading time! Which books do you want to read?” Calm.
Note to Self: wash Alyssa’s sheets when she is not looking.
Other than that issue, we actually had a great morning. My over-achieving self, wanting to get all my items checked off, actually stopped and played with Alyssa when she asked me. We started playing with little checkerboard pieces and I decided to work on her counting. I saw progress, so that was encouraging!
Then it dawned on me. I don’t ever remember sitting down and teaching something academic to either child before today. Don’t get me wrong; I have been very intentional about teaching Drew the Bible, about God, about loving God, and about character. But I don’t ever remember sitting down and teaching either of them a new concept. Perhaps as we go about our day: “If we have five pieces of pizza and Daddy eats one, how many do we have now?” but not intentional blocked-out time to learn something new.
But instead of beating myself up over this new revelation, I feel blessed to have another chance. I can teach Alyssa basic concepts when I’m at home with her, and I can help Drew build on what he’s learning at school.
That’s one thing that just didn’t make it to my priority list when I was working outside the home. It could have, and I’m sure many moms who work outside the home do it well. It just didn’t happen with me.
My hope is that as I am teaching Alyssa the basics, she’ll let me teach her the things that matter as she matures.
My hope is that as I am taking the time to help Drew with his reading at night, his heart will know I’m taking time out for him, so when heavier matters of the world enter his life, Matt and I will be the first place he goes for answers.
Intentional Time. For many parents this is probably a no-brainer. It comes naturally. But for me, a to-a-fault task-oriented person, it will take intentional effort on my part.
But my prayer is that this intentional investment will pay dividends in the lives of my children in ways I can’t see now.