At least once a week, usually more, a post comes across my Facebook news feed with some convicting article about how sad our children are when we tell them that we need to do something else instead of play with them. They just need our time. Those other insignificant things we have to do just don’t measure up and we should be dropping everything to play when our children want to.
I mean, “What if it’s your last day on earth?” There’s probably some compelling “well this mom died suddenly in a car accident” story with it to get you ugly crying and sure that you’re probably in your final days on earth. I mean, why even bother doing anything but snuggling with your kids? No one will care about those dishes, the bills, your job, when you’re gone. Ya know? It’s all about your kids.
Spoiler alert: This rabbit hold leads to finding yourself eyeball deep in a bath or eating too much chocolate, crying and wondering why everything is falling apart around you and you can’t do it all. “Oh…yep…and there it is…according to this post Barbara died of chocolate overdose…put the chocolate down and go hug your kid again you selfish cow.” Or maybe that’s just me.
Listen. My children need my time. They do. They need to feel important. I know this. I’m guessing most other moms do, too. But the fact of the matter is that those “insignificant things” really aren’t. If you put off doing the rest of your job for even a day or two when you have 5 children, you’re drowning for the next month. A stressed and drowning mommy isn’t what they need either.
So have those articles really opened my eyes to how much my children need me?
They’ve made me feel horribly guilty every time I genuinely don’t have time. And in case my children are the only ones, there is a never ending demand for attention and play time. I could literally spend 3 days straight playing with them and go to the bathroom and someone would ask “why won’t you play with me?” Instant mommy guilt. Thank you Facebook.
Maybe we need to be a bit more realistic and stop beating ourselves up and giving ourselves yet another way to fail. Maybe you’re their mother and you know what they need and don’t really need someone to tell you.
Play with your kids. Please do. Please don’t stop paying your bills to play with your children. Please don’t stop making dinner because someone wants to color. Please don’t take the play doh to the bathroom with you. Please don’t teach your children that every time they want attention the world should stop. They really will be OK playing by themselves for awhile or seeing that work is important too.
Most of all, please stop guilting yourself for talking to a friend too long, giving them pizza for the second time this week, letting them watch TV, or letting them look at a book by themselves. Just do your best and at the end of the day bathe it all in grace and start again. Someday they’ll have to grow up and forgive you for your shortcomings. You may as well start forgiving you too. Hang in there momma.