“I knew you’d say that,” big Little T says, as her shoulders drop and her smile dies on her lips. She swiftly turns away from me. I have just said “no” to her excited request to go to the neighborhood playground with me.
The day is warm and sunny and it is a nice afternoon to be outside. But a hundred tabs are open on my browser, a parenting article is in need of the perfect ending, emails are impatiently waiting to be answered, and my slides for an upcoming workshop are due for some updates.
I can’t breathe with my busyness. Saying “no” is the most logical thing to say. Or is it?
My daughter’s words echo in my mind. “I knew you’d say that. I knew you’d say that. I knew you’d say that.”
I stop my mad marathon across my laptop’s keyboard and slowly say to her, “What do you mean? Do I really say no all the time?”
“Well, you’re always working on your laptop and you don’t go to the park with us anymore and don’t play with us much. You always say later.”
I am grateful that I have been able to create a home-based career that I am passionate about and that I find elevating. But I quit my old job to live my dream of being at home with my kids. I want to raise them, play with them, teach them – be with them in their early years.
I need to remind myself, therefore, of why I am at home in the first place. I have to realign my priorities and make sure that my actions reflect those. I want to make memories with my children, good ones, and not of a mom who is there but is too busy to really be there.
And yes, I know it would be pure folly to give in to each demand on my time that my kids make. Work is important too, and I want them to see that.
But here’s the thing. I want my daughter to exclaim, “I knew you’d say that,” and refer to my eagerness to join her and her brother on their nighttime adventures in the dark. I want her to gleefully say, “I knew you’d say that,” and refer to my willingness to write down my “little girl stories” that she illustrates. I want her to say, “I knew you’d say that,” and refer to me jumping up from my chair to go with her and her little brother to the neighborhood playground.
What has your child told you that made you sit up and think about how you’re doing as a parent? I would love to read about it in the comments.