Have you ever come to a crossroad in your life? A moment where you decide to change the way something is done, and when you look back you recognize all the “insignificant” happenings that culminated in sending you down a new path? I love that hindsight allows us to appreciate the hand of God at work, in big and little things.
In the last couple of weeks a few things got me thinking more about life as a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) and my typical day. My days are far, far from worthy of emulating, but friendships have shown me that this is not an uncommon feeling. Recently, as a result of a blog I read and a few conversations with fellow mothers, I wanted to make some changes.
I was suddenly aware of how I had buried my head deep in a pile of “to-do’s” every day, and was content to let my 3-year-old play alone (which she does quite well) or be entertained by Netflix, and an array of other television sources. My son Caleb is pretty content too, and finds much entertainment in following his big sister Nora around. Don’t get me wrong, they are a handful, and mealtimes alone often take more than hour from prep to clean up. But I realized that when they played I could do what needed doing, or just take a breather myself, and any time they needed me, I was annoyed. I really lost focus on my main role. Mommy. A brief article called my attention to the fact that this season of life with littles is so very short and so precious. I suddenly fell into a panic as I wondered if I would have any memories to look back on. Was I savoring these moments or was I shooing them away? It was then that I realized that being present was much more important than emptying the dishwasher. Happily, I sat down in a chair and watched my baby boy giggle with sheer delight at a bowl full of peas, which he meticulously popped in his mouth, one by one.
My big, smart, taking-it-all-in toddler is a t.v. lover. There it is. I think most of us are, but as adults we’ve learned self-discipline. I am certainly to blame for her commitment to the activity, and believe me, I feel guilty about that. In an effort to turn things around, I initiated a system I also read about long ago on a blog (sorry for the lack of links here). A ticket system. Each day she gets a set number of tickets that represent minutes of t.v. time. I do 30 minutes for each ticket. Right now she gets 4 a day. I know that 2 hours sounds like a lot of t.v. but for us, that is cutting back! She will watch two episodes of something in the morning and maybe one in the late part of the afternoon and one after dinner. I plan to slowly decrease the number of tickets in time, and maybe alternate between some days with only 30 minutes and some days with 90 minutes. If you are feeling really judgmental right now, well, I would never know, so judge away.
Limiting Nora’s television has been fun! It gives her a little control over when she watches and helps her gain a concept of time and planning. It also gives her more opportunities to play and be creative. It means I can play with her and hear her say all sorts of smart and hilarious things and introduce her to new ways to have fun. It’s not that I never did this before, but now, I am much more present and our relationship is better because of it.
I’m grateful for the life lessons that nudge their way into my path gently. I am grateful that, “He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14) and that He guides me with such patience and grace.