As a full time working mother and full time student, it is easy to get lost in the many things I have to do. Not only do I work full time, but my work is also my passion, so it is often at the forefront of my mind, or something will suddenly occur to me and I have to act at that moment. I act at that moment partly because I get excited and can't wait to put my thoughts into action, and partly because if I don't do it then, the momentum will be lost as I move on to the next thing, or I'll forget to do it at all (again, busy life). I am also quite the "nerd" as my son calls me, and love to learn but am also a perfectionist (for those of you who would lecture me right now, stop, you don't have to-I know it's not THAT important-but I just can't seem to help it!) so I won't accept any grade less than A. This of course means that I work long and hard on my school work, but I truly believe that anything worth doing is worth doing 110%
In all that busy work, passion and pure adrenaline it would be easy for me to lose sight of my most precious gift, my children and family. I admit when I walk in the door I sometimes need to decompress for a moment, but at some point I switch gears and it becomes more about them. (I will admit that I sometimes steal a moment to read and respond to my work e-mail-but honest I only do it in ten minute increments). My kids are amazing! they are also infuriating at times, my oldest two fight on a continuous basis, and whoever said son's are easier than daughters has obviously not met my son! I worry, I worry often that I am not doing my best, that I might fail my children, that people will think I'm a bad mother. I worry that I'm not good enough for my children. I work to let these thoughts go as soon as they appear, but it seems that this is what most parents do. At these times I remember that it would be easy to focus on the "bad," each mistake and every call from the school, but I'd rather focus on the good, and enjoy each little moment I get with my kids.
I have seen parents who speak to their kids only when they are offering reprimands, I know it's not that they don't love their children, they are simply living with the same pressures as everyone else, and it's hard to focus on the positive when there is so much work to be done to raise "good" people. To raise "good" people, we should start with respecting them the way we wish them to respect us, not in a "respect my authoritay" way(south park fans will get that reference), but respecting the fact that although our children are not yet adults, they are still human beings with emotions, and yes, opinions. The next thing is to focus on the positive, give hugs for the good and let the bad go whenever we can!
My daughter, Savannah who is nine was out playing a few weeks ago. Usually I ask that she be in at 7:30 on a school night as I think rest is important for everyone, but especially children. We have to do baths and snacks, comb hair, pack lunches, prepare for the day to come...it can be a lengthy process. Well, on this night I already had my youngest in the tub and we were laughing as she splashed and played, and I knew Savannah was outside enjoying the evening with her friends in our backyard, so it was about 7:41 before her step dad called her in. Now often when I ask my kids to come inside, I am met with grunts and groans "aw mommy, just five more minutes?" They always come begrudgingly but come inside non the less. Well on this evening Savannah hurried inside, looked at the clock and came directly to me saying "Mommy, thank you so much for letting me stay out until 7:41!" ( That's why I remember the time). She thanked me for an extra 16 minutes, I hadn't even knowingly given her the extra 16 minutes, yet she was grateful for them! She focused on the good, not the fact that the neighborhood kids were still playing in our backyard, not the fact that she had to come in, yet again, before anyone else. She was focused merely on the fact that she had been given extra time outside. I think I hugged her for ten minutes, I was so grateful at that moment for her and her expression of gratitude, and I realized that she does this a lot, there is so much more positive in our days together than anything else, and that's what I choose to acknowledge, for all of my kids (and my own sanity).
So, like the old song says "You've got AC-CENT-UATE the positive!"