I have made an amazing discovery: the world will not fall apart if I do not wash the dishes. It has been a struggle to test this theory, but I have found that every time I do, my hypothesis is correct. This is also true for folding laundry and tidying up the living room. I’m not sure about keeping the clutter off the kitchen table though; I’m still pretty sure my world is falling apart if there is clutter on the table…..
“Mom, can you snuggle tonight?”
Believe it or not, this request occasionally requires effort for me to grant. I am not a cold hearted woman that does not enjoy time with her children. I am just caught up in all there is that must be done. I have a tendency to gravitate towards doing rather than being.
My 11 year old son frequently will ask me to snuggle for a couple of minutes. I have decided that I am going to do this every time he asks. Instead of rushing off to do, I am going to be.
This decision still takes practice because the perfectionist in me is fighting it. The perfectionist in me wants to accomplish the tasks that are visible. However, I am finding out that my chances to be present with my son are quickly running out. He is more and more independent every day.
Being is something I am practicing in my daytime interactions as well. When one of the kids is upset, I am attempting to listen to the hurt rather than jumping to fixing it. It is likely that I started doing this after some counseling or after reading an article on relationships. Either way, at some point it occurred to me that little people need someone to listen to them and understand them just as much as big people.
So, now, I am trying to be in her moment when my middle child, our deep feeler, is crying over something I think she should just get over. I take a deep breath, and I simply hold her. If I am really doing well, I will also add comments such as, “I know it hurts, baby,” or, “I’m sorry this is so hard right now.” I am finding these are far more effective than the responses that come to my head first — “Baby, it is fine. Only think about the good stuff and move on.”
It is easy to get caught up in all there is to do. There is a weight and a pressure I put on myself to accomplish the tasks of living. However, the dishes do not care if I wash them, and the living room doesn’t mind the clutter.
“Mommy, can you watch me dance?…Can you play this game with me? Will you sit with me?”
I am taking deep breathes, blocking out the list of things to be done, and choosing to just be.