Yesterday was the day. We officially got back into the grind after a wonderful holiday season as a family of four. My husband went back to work after two glorious weeks at home, our gauntlet of family Christmases and get-togethers came to a screeching halt, and I was flying solo again with our two vibrant munchkins. While it definitely felt good to get back into our routine, a tiny part of me couldn’t help but mourn all the help I had over the past month. You see, when we’re around family and friends, I get to sort of quietly slink back to the sidelines and allow our loved ones to take center stage – whether they realize it or not. Sometimes I wonder if our family and friends ever question my mothering ability. After all, when they’re here, I’m usually on the couch with a glazed over smile, letting others willingly attend to most of the needs and wants of my kids. If that’s been you at one time or another, please know I’m not completely checked out of my parenting duties. Every want and need is carefully and quietly observed, and my legs are on constant standby ready to jump up for instances only mom can handle. But for several reasons, I’m letting you take the lead.
If you’re visiting with us, it means you’re an important part of our life, and therefore an important part of our children’s lives. Proximity isn’t a luxury we have when it comes to family and friends. If we’re together, it means it took effort, planning, and may not happen again for awhile. I want our kids to know you, to see your picture and shout your name, and to feel comfortable the second you walk in the door instead of hiding behind my legs. So when my daughter pulls your hand into her playroom for the 72nd time in an hour, I’m going to let her. I want her to have that bonding time with you – whether you’re secretly just wanting to sit on the couch or not. 🙂 Thanks for being a trooper and letting yourself get silly!
I’m learning and observing while watching you play with my kids. Yes – I’m learning from you. Sure, I’m the mom and I arguably know my children better than anyone on the planet. I know the things that make their drums beat and their hearts flutter, but you get to come in and see them with fresh eyes. You always seem to spot the toys we haven’t pulled out in awhile, the books that need to be read with some new gusto, and the dance moves we’ll now be adding to our repertoire. Your style of play, the way you manipulate toys, the things you do to make them laugh, and ways you challenge them are all being carefully cataloged into my mental filing system. Spending all day everyday with them can cause some ruts I’m oblivious to, so you bring a new light into our house that I’m thankful for. Quite frankly, I envy this fresh and limitless energy you come in with. Players gonna play, play, play!
Despite common belief, mothers don’t always like to hold their babies all day everyday. How dare I say it, but its true! No one loves cuddle time more than me, and no one loves breathing in my sweet baby in my arms more than I do, but I do it for endless hours every single day. By holding my son for awhile, you’re giving me a little time to feel human again. I get to pee without juggling a “I’ll only sleep in your arms right now” baby. I get to drink coffee. HOT. I get to sit without rocking and swaying back and forth (until I subconsciously do it anyway). I get to put a little makeup on without having to sing and dance so baby stays entertained. I get to make a meal that will take longer than three minutes to prepare. It gives me a little “me” time, and for that I am so grateful.
My kids need to know others can take care of their needs as well. I stay home with both of my kids. As a result, they don’t get the same levels of interactions with other caregivers and children that daycare children do. We go to play dates, classes, and play places so they can flex their social muscles, but I also want them to know that at times other adults will need to take care of them outside of mom and dad, and that’s OK. So when you feed our daughter, put our son to bed, or give them a bath to help out, you’re not only doing us a favor – but you’re doing them a favor, too. They learn to trust their loved ones and know their needs will be met. You may not do it exactly like we do, but that’s OK, too. No judgment here – your way keeps them flexible!
If you’re one of the ones who shies away from anything related to our kids while you’re here – that’s OK in my book, too. Having you around is all we really want anyway. Come join me on the couch. 🙂