I will have to make this a fast post today, because I am on a ferry, with my three boys right now, so my quiet writing time will run out fast. For now, we've got the e-readers, coloring books and Nintendo DS games keeping the wild-things at bay, so, for a few moments, we look like one of "those" families that have it together. So I will pretend to be the power-Mom, working while on the ferry, while my three EXTREMELY well behaved children sit quietly with their (handsome) Father (who is about to fall asleep any minute now judging from the sag in his bottom lip).
Yes, we are so well put together and under control.
That's what the people sitting across from us think. Maybe not, but I like to imagine that people are way more fascinated with me than they really are. It's a side-effect of not getting out much. I have become a weirdo/hermit who thinks everyone is watching me. I know I am watching THEM and making up all kinds of adventurous "life stories" about them. Isn't that what everyone does on ferries?
ANYWAY, I wanted to talk today about parenting with intention. It is one of my new goals. And I seem to get it wrong all the time. I forget so easily that my children are my priority. Just this morning, before we left the house to catch the ferry on our EPIC (according to my 6-year-old) road trip, I was trying to put in a couple of hours of work, while my husband graciously got the van packed and the kids fed. At the point when it was time for us to REALLY (and I mean REALLY) leave, I was in the middle of a bit of a work "situation", my hair was soaking wet in a towel, and I was still in my pjs, (even though I got up hours before everyone else, so this exact thing wouldn't happen). So I was stressing.
When my sons came into my office, bubbling over with energy, and SOOO excited to be going on an EPIC family weekend getaway, asking me why I wasn't ready yet, instead of seeing their excitement and joy, I saw three ping-pong balls bouncing all over the room and distracting me from my work. And I snapped at them. I sent them out of the room, demanded silence, and then had a bit of a freak out about the whole thing - the trip, the time, the job, the kids, the...EVERYTHING.
We fail our children when we stop parenting with intention.
This happens when we go on cruise control in our busy lives, and bark at them when they don't keep up or stay on track. We are failing them when this happens. They aren't failing us. Instead of yelling at my kids for distracting me, I should have put that energy into getting my butt out the door. Or yelled at myself for being grumpy. This distraction from intentional parenting happens when we make something - whether it's cleaning, work, the computer, stressful thoughts, a relationship, planning a holiday - or all of the above, a higher priority than our children in our mind, our thoughts, and our actions. This steals from our children and robs us of that important connection. Parenting with intention = parenting with connection.
It can be hard to stay intentional and connected through such busy days. So many things divide our attention. But just like with anything in a well-balanced life, we have to decide what priority our children take (and I think it should be our first, always and forever). I think that we owe it to these little guys to give them all of the time and attention they need to grow into healthy, responsible, moral and educated human beings. We brought them into this crazy, challenging world, and we need to make preparing and equipping them our top priority. I am not saying that you should never put work deadlines ahead of a play at the park, but as parents we have to watch the "slow slide".
I need to stop expecting my kids to go on cruise control whenever I need them to. I need to connect to them, not to the internet. I need to hold them. I need to read to them - my book can wait until later. If I can't do that, and do all the "other" things that take me away from my children, then I need to re-prioritize those "other" things. I need to clear away everything that distracts me from being an intentional Mom.
So, without further ado, I must disconnect from this shiny red laptop, and intentionally snuggle some little boys.
Enjoy your weekend with the children you love! Connection with Intention. Go now....turn off your computer...GO!
WAIT! Before you log-off, check out Silly Mama's fav picks for cool babies @ www.sillysouls.com