First let me begin by saying we all strive to do our best as parents. We have good days, where we remembered to sign field trip permission slips, feed the fish, make the appointment, get to the store, make sports practices on time, and so on. We also have our opposite days, where we don’t feel like rock-stars and nothing runs smooth. Some days we just do the best we can to make it through.
Through the thick and thin, one phrase always comes to mind – only once. We each only get one childhood, one chance to be a kid. One chance to be an innocent child without having to worry about adult responsibilities. The most difficult decision to be made should be coloring with a green or red crayon.
I consistently remind myself of this on a daily basis. Only once. Only once. Many nights my middle child comes up to me with a smile and a book at exactly the moment he should be in bed. The exact moment I should be putting my feet up with a glass of wine and a good book. The battle between wanting so badly to put my feet up for the first time of the day versus turning my middle child’s smile upside down goes through my head. Only once. Only once I remind myself. So, most of the time I join him in bed for him to read to me. I mean, are they going to still invite me to bed when they’re in high school to read me a book? Probably not, I figure.
It’s Spring Break and though I would rather be home, the kids would rather be out and busy. The weather is prime to be outside before it begins to get too hot. Would they remember the Nintendo game they spent playing, or the Spring baseball game in which I got stung by a bee? Making memories, I thought, would be a nice thing to do over material things. Only once. I will have time to stay home later if I please.
It comes down to wanting our kids to remember a nurturing, pleasant childhood. The fun traditions of letting them sleep in our bed when daddy is gone traveling. Summer nights up late swimming in the pool because there wasn’t school. Remembering mommy doing a funny dance because there were bees up my pants.
I’m not saying do anything crazy. It’s okay to have a rest day at home. I’m saying, take advantage of what may be temporary moments. Play a board game with your kids, even if it puts off your “me” time by a few minutes. Maybe try to extend that hug a few more seconds. If your child asks to cuddle and it’s something they don’t do very often, soak it in! We are on limited time before friends, jobs and other things take precedence in their life. I’d rather look back and be glad I played, cuddled and made memories with our kids while I could, and while they wanted me to.