I am tired. Sometimes really tired. In fact, I am the fall asleep while I put my kids down for nap and for bed tired (and yes, I do lay with my Maddie to help her fall asleep and have no shame about that). When I really reflect on this exhaustion I know it of course has do with the pace of life that we currently live, with my dual roles of mom, wife, professor, grant writer and parent consultant and with the constant demand of two toddler/preschool age children. But if I am honest, some of it has to do with me. . . and the way I am consumed by the big LITTLE things.
Here are the big LITTLE things that wear me down:
1. The constant need to pick up, wash dishes, do laundry, clean up goldfish cracker crumbs, milk spills, and boogers on fingers.
2. The nagging feeling that I should be on to the ‘next thing’ by now.
3. My desire to accomplish more in one day than is really possible.
4. The fear that my children aren’t as (fill in the blank) as other children their ages.
5. Am I a bad parent or at least a worse parent than I want to be?
In all of these big LITTLE things lies one truth, spending my time lamenting, busily working, or list making doesn’t actually solve any of these problems. Instead, including my children in the daily grind can often relieve the nagging in my mind while also providing some great learning time with my girls.
Today I awoke to the daunting task of dirty laundry to sort while all of the laundry baskets were still full of last week’s clean laundry….dread filled my soul. Somewhere, in the not such a horrible parent, part of my mind I realized that this didn’t have to be all bad, my girls could easily join me in the sorting and storing. And so, I invited them in…and am glad to say…It was awesome.
The girls gleefully put clothes in their very own drawers and Maddie commented on each outfit and why she did or didn’t like it. When we moved on to Mommy and Daddy’s room the girls played on the bed and handed me hangers. We named the colors of mommy’s shirts and underwear, talked about the difference between bras and bathing suits and played dress up in Daddy’s shoes and ties.
After an hour had gone by I realized something profound. So much of my exhaustion with the big LITTLE things has to do with my innate need to separate out “kid” time with “task” time when, in fact, they can, and should be the same. Inviting my children into the everyday monotony of dishes and laundry offer unique learning experiences, life skill lessons, and a sense of accomplishment and responsibility. Just because I am not an alphabet themed craft of the day type of mom it doesn’t mean I’m not doing a good job.
Being tired isn’t my problem, being tired at the exclusion or blame of my children is.
Join me on my journey…..Do at least two chores a day with your children. As always let me know how it goes for you.