Classic Re-post: This was first posted on my Homeschool Enrichment blog two years ago–and again when this blog was new. I thought it was worth reviving. My next post will be on our curriculum plans for next year.)
As homeschooling moms, we devote virtually all our time and energy to our homes and families. They are our very lives. So if anyone dares to suggest that we aren’t doing enough, we naturally feel defensive or insulted. I received such an “insult” recently, from my own seven year old. My own son! (Whine, whine.) He said (speaking for himself and his little brother,) “You don’t spend enough time with us.”
My initial response: “WHAT?! Not enough time with you? What do you mean? I’m with you everyday, all day. I spend LOTS of time with you. I take care of you, cook for you, read to you, do school with you…”
“That’s just it, Mommy,” he answered. We spend TOO much time doing school. We want to do other things with you.”
“Other things?” I probed. “What kinds of other things?”
“Oh, you know…FUN things. Things like playing outside with us, playing more games with us, doing more art, teaching us to cook…FUN STUFF!”
At first I was cross about this. How could he say I don’t spend enough time with them? Haven’t I devoted my whole life to these kids?! (More whining.) And as for school time…we only spend around two hours a day. How could that be too much?
Then I started thinking: He’s just a little boy. He wants a relationship with me; that’s a good thing! He needs me to be there for him not only physically, but emotionally. Why can’t I put more effort into our relationship? Why can’t I spend some time doing the “fun stuff”?
I realized that lots of times, if I was honest with myself, I would have to admit that while I am at home physically, I am not there emotionally. Haven’t you all done this too? Emotionally, you’re somewhere else. Your mind is not with your children at all. When they talk to you, you aren’t paying attention, but you mumble “uh-huh” anyway without really listening. You are too busy doing housework, watching the news, cooking dinner, or even planning the next day’s school work to listen. Any “conversations” are very one-sided.
Our children need more than that. They need us to be fully engaged with them all the time. They need us to put an effort into our relationship. They need us to take time to do the fun stuff. The fun stuff builds relationships and happy memories.
That is why I have decided to put some extra effort into my relationship with my kids. Not because our relationships are bad, but because I want to see if they could be better.
Here are the things I have decided to do. I challenge you to do them, too:
I am going to be more conscious of where my attention really is, making sure I am with my children both emotionally and physically. I will take the time to have meaningful conversations with them, even if the conversation is just about their latest “Lego” creation. They need to know I care.
I’m going to make school more fun. We will play more games, do more art, do some cooking and other hands-on activities. I know that these are important parts of learning for young children, but I’ve let life get in the way of them recently. No more.
Finally, we are going to do “Christmas in July”. Why should all the major fun and messy projects be saved till Christmas, when we are too busy to enjoy them? This year, we are going to take time this month to do some of the projects I’ve been putting off. I’m going to spread the fun around. We’re going to paint, and bake, and make presents.
Let’s get out there and play, create, and converse with our children. Let’s build relationships and happy memories. Want to join me?
-Notes to my “remember mind”: Make the main thing the main thing. Be there emotionally. Build relationships. Stop whining before it spreads to the kids.
– Notes to my “Un-remember mind:: Forget the guilt over past projects that were left undone, and move on to the next thing.
© 2008, 2009, 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.