Parenting is a complex business. We get tangled up in expectations, benchmarks, comparisons, busy-ness, tiredness, having the right things, the pressure of making the money we need to keep everything running…
And all that sucks up our time. Every last second, if we let it. Which isn’t good, of course, because time is the most valuable thing we can offer our children. And when we don’t it sends a very clear and direct message – however unintentional – about their own value.
I’ve never been very good at fighting off the million and one demands life places on my time, but I’m learning (yes, slowly…yes, the hard way) to be more careful. To invest it wisely. To protect it fiercely.
I’ve started measuring my parenting days on a feeling of connection as I fall asleep. A feeling I only get when I’ve tuned into the little things I know I don’t notice as much (or at all) when I’m rushing, or my head is in my phone too much, or when I’m distractedly thinking about bills I need to pay or something at work I need to sort.
Small things like my children’s smiles, their laughter, their arms reaching out for a hug in the morning, their little hand reaching out for mine while we’re walking, hearing them sing to themselves, the new drawing they’re excited to show me, the joke they want to tell for the ninth time…
Through twelve years and many life phases, it has always been the investment of time that has reliably and consistently brought out those smiles, that laughter, those hugs and held hands, those sweet little singing voices, those regular moments of connection…and the very best sleeps.
Easily said, not always so easily acted upon. But every now and then I read or hear something that jolts my parenting focus, reminding me that all those big, stressy, important-feeling aspects mean nothing if I’m missing out on the little things.
Perhaps, today, this post is that for you.