Image from Killian and Co.
I’ve had a lot of jobs in my day, but my job as a mom tops them all. I adore being called “Mommy” by little ones just finding their voices. I love impromptu picnics and Katy Perry dance parties. I melt every time I’m told how “pretty” I look in the same old sweat pants that I’ve had for ages.
Knowing that I helped create three beautiful, unique little human beings is both astounding and scary. I mean, I only have one shot at this mommy thing, and I want to get it right. At ages four, three, and one, I am their sun. I am everything to them—their warmth, their nourishment, their light. Right now, I am the center of their little solar system, but it won’t always be that way. Friends will come around who are much cooler than their old mother. School activities will eventually replace our innocent outings. At this very moment, sleeping soundly in their beds, they are growing up.
One of my top resolutions for 2014 is to be a better mom. Although I am 110% dedicated to my little ones, there are some days I feel like I’m not quite there for their little milestones. Maybe I’m on the computer too long. Maybe I said, “In a minute,” for too many minutes and my daughter finally hung her head and played dolls alone. Or maybe I was so wrapped up in doing laundry that I missed the original children’s theatre happening in the next room.
Every job leaves room for improvement and being a mom is no exception. If you are like me, then one of your resolutions is to be a better mom in 2014. Here are two simple things that I plan to focus on.
1. Say yes more
Childhood is much to short to measure by missed opportunities. When it comes down to it, kids just want to be with us. They want us to notice when they draw a dinosaur that looks more like squiggly lines. They crave our time and attention. So many times during my day I hear, “Mommy, can you play with me.” This year, I want to say “yes” to as many of those opportunities as I can.
Try setting aside one day a week, free of obligations, to be a “yes” day. Say “yes” to finger-painting, even though it’s messy. Say yes to a rousing game of Go Fish…or two, or three. And what’s the harm in pancakes for dinner? You’ll be amazed at how precious this quality time becomes.
2. Simplify life
For me, when life gets hectic, I morph into Crazy Mom. I do not like Crazy Mom, and neither do my kids or husband. It’s easy to overbook our lives with every type of lesson and sport imaginable. In the words of the simplicity guru Henry David Thoreau, “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand.” If you find yourself getting short with the people you love most, maybe its time to simplify your affairs. Examine areas where you can cut back. Encouraging kids to learn new skills and gain confidence is great, but anxiety and stress are not.
Moms, we are the center of our family solar systems. When it comes to being a better mom, what it really boils down to is simply being present. Be there for Mrs. Nesbit’s tea party, not watching from the kitchen as you load the dishwasher. Be there when your two-year-old belly laughs at his first knock-knock joke. Let’s say “yes” more than we say no and turn our “In-a-minutes” into more minutes spent together.