I have two beautiful children -- both fantastically wild, undiluted hyperactive spirits with energy that lasts throughout the day. My energy, however, has slowly seeped out of me by the time I drive out in the morning.
I have days when I get up from sleep wondering if I had slept at all. I hear my sons, shrieking with joy at the rough and tumble antics that boys delight in. Me? I want to run to the other end of the house because the noise raises my blood pressure in slow but steady increments. And, today, I finally had the wisdom to stop and ask myself: why am I so distracted?
Perhaps it was because I preoccupied myself with dressing one of my sons to the nines for his class photo. Or I spent a considerable amount of time packing preservative free, homemade quesadillas in my children’s lunch boxes.
Maybe I was distracted because I want the Legos in the Lego box and the good shirts with the good shirts, which should never be mixed with the kindergarten shirts. Or was it because I was busy vacuuming the crumbs off the polished floor?
You drive yourself to do more and more that you lose sight of the joy of sitting still.
Or maybe I let the irrational number of mismatched little socks get to me, like how I can't stop letting those bruises on my sons' legs, collected from non-stop running and falling over, affect me because it reminded me of screams of "Mom, I hurt myself!"
We live in days of constant multitasking. We perform an epic juggling act while we are constantly bombarded with information on what evil lurks in that entirely innocent muffin (your grandmother had them and lived to tell the tale!). You may live two airplane rides away, but it does not mean people can't reach you -- like 24 hours a day.
Somehow "being an average mom" today has become too pedestrian. So you drive yourself to do more and more that you lose sight of the joy of sitting still -- to be at the moment.
So I have a rather radical thought. What if today I come home from doing my thesis and sit and ask my beautiful boys: How was your day? Show them they’ve got me, and nothing else is more important than knowing they had a great day of discovery and wonder. Nothing else is more important than understanding why they are shrieking with absolute delight.
I will begin by putting my phone and my tablet away (theirs, too). I will put these electronic devices in a box where they will stay throughout the morning. There they will stay again when we’re all home until the time they are sleeping, tucked away full, happy and warm. I will keep these gadgets in that box until I have accomplished my personal bite-sized goals for the day (finish your methods chapter, Belinda Faye). I will turn the wifi off and never turn it on until I’m breathing normally again.
And that way, maybe just maybe, I’ll manage to wake up and give both boys a run for their money, laugh at their antics, and tickle them till they’ve had their heart's content.
Belinda Andal, who lives in New Zealand with her husband and two boys, has multiple degrees in psychology and is as clueless as any parent.