““People will forget what you said; People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
I read dozens of blogs every week and while I pick up good tips, ideas, recipes, I rarely read anything that leaves a profound mark on me. Last week, Katie’s sister, Kelly, shared a post from Hands Free Mama, that I cannot stop thinking about. The whole purpose of the blog is to remind us to take the time to be present and enjoy the really special moments of our life. To stop over scheduling ourselves (and our kids), to put our phones down, reply to that email later and savor the little moments. We are always multitasking; making dinner, while listening to the news and helping our kids practice the alphabet. While we may actually accomplish it all, are we doing any of it really well? And if we are, at what expense? I went back to work when my twins were three months old, only to realize the work-life balance is actually a myth, at least for me it was. I was consumed with feeling of guilt for leaving my little ones for 12 hours a day, and consumed with guilt for no longer being able/wanting to give 80+ hours a week to my career like I had for the past 12 years. So I finally quit. But now, I have a business that requires just as much time, though I have more control of when I want to work.
That said, I read several entries in the Hand Free Mama blog and identified with so many of the “signs” of an overscheduled life. Answering my kids’ questions while replying to a text on my phone, or telling my kids to wait, “mommy just needs to make one phone call” and then getting frustrated because they keep calling my name (louder and louder). The reality is that everyone needs and wants to be acknowledged, and our children are no different. Acknowledging our children makes them feel loved, supported, understood an accepted, and I don’t even want to think about how they feel when we don’t acknowledge them. The more blog entries I read, the more I knew that I could be more present with my children. I knew I could do better.
Hand Free Mama shares a list that I think every parent should read. It was written by a teacher who asked her students (over 16 years) what they needed most from their parents, and the answers are so simple, yet so beautiful.
The Top Ten Things Kids Really Want Their Parents To Do With Them
- Come into my bedroom at night, tuck me in and sing me a song. Also tell me stories about when you were little.
- Give me hugs and kisses and sit and talk with me privately.
- Spend quality time just with me, not with my brothers and sisters around.
- Give me nutritious food so I can grow up healthy.
- At dinner talk about what we could do together on the weekend.
- At night talk to me about about anything; love, school, family etc.
- Let me play outside a lot.
- Cuddle under a blanket and watch our favorite TV show together.
- Discipline me. It makes me feel like you care
- Leave special messages in my desk or lunch bag
Thank you for the gentle reminder, Hands Free Mama.