You know what is a lot easier than most moms let on?
Spending time with your kids. Not just, everyone in the same room on their phones. I mean really, really spending time with them.
I know mothering is hard. Hell, I can barely adult sometimes. But I know that most of the times, those mothers really aren't that stressed (unless they have some other underlying circumstances, of course, in which case- God bless them.) But forgive me for sounding like a snob. I really really know without a doubt that being a mother is the hardest, most challenging yet rewarding job that we will.ever.have. I know that. I live that.
But just stop your day for 5 minutes and sit down with your kids. Man that sounds preachy. But first, before you do that, Mama, forgive yourself and let whatever is stopping you from sitting on the couch for a moment go. Let that shit go, I'm telling you. Because next year when you are taking yet another First Day of School picture and start to cry because they are growing up faster than your tears can keep up, you will wrap these little every day memories around you like a reassuring hug that will never let go.
In that 5 minutes that I take to talk to my kids and spend time with them, I just feel better. Like I've had vitamins or a shot of Fireball. It just warms me up. They tell me about their days, they tell me jokes (that I've heard a hundred times) or they tell me something new they've learned that day.
I'm not going to lie here, there are some days where I wonder, what are we going to talk about? But I have a few questions up my sleeve that I always use. I always ask them what they had for lunch that day at school and ask them to tell me something funny that happened.
A couple of years ago, we started telling our "Pits and Peaks" of the day or week at the dinner table and those always lead to more conversation. It's always been my goal to have fun, interesting dinner conversation with my kids. I think talking about what happens in their day and feelings they've had makes them brighter and a lot more expressive. Usually, when we do our pits and peaks, it leads another one of us to remember a similar story and before we know it, we've chatted all through our meal. And actually, the more I think about it, my need for dinner conversation probably stems from my fear of hearing people chew and needing to cover up the sound. But still, it has all led to great things.
I am not saying here that I pride myself on having a messy house because I am too busy playing with my kids. Not true. Trust me, they watch their fair share of Netflix. I even have a sign in my kitchen that says "Good moms have sticky floors, dirty ovens and happy kids." I'm pretty sure my mom gave it to me as a passive aggressive nudge to clean my house but it's still true. I've never cleaned my oven. But still, always, the dishes and the dusting waits. Always. Hell, maybe I will just give them the dust rag and we can do that together.
Mug cakes on a Sunday night? Why. Not?
When it is possible, because let's be real, sometimes life just does not allow us to sit down and chat, I always use the time I can to be present and have meaningful time with my kids. They are 5 and 8 and CJ's girls are 4, 5 and 8 now and I fully believe that they will remember some of these moments and hopefully remember how engaged I was with them. I very well may be without pants or the kitchen is a mess but who cares? I made them giggle. I giggled back. We talk about how to be kind and how to better ourselves the next day. We learn about each other and we become friends. There is always time to take your busy mom hat off and just sit down to chat.
This weekend, we spent an hour in the kitchen with the girls making Christmas cookies and had so much fun. Who cares if it was past "bedtime?" Who cares that there are mashed up pretzels for a little while on the kitchen rug or chocolate in their hair? Their smiles, though. You can't beat that.