I'll admit that lately I haven't been very present in the evenings when I get home. I try but I'm mostly just faking it. And it depresses me. I get home, I'm starving, tired, mentally drained, germy hands from the max, and my sweet girls are waiting to pounce on me by the door. And I'm so so HAPPY to see them, it is the sweetest sight. They are usually waiting in matching pjs peering through the window with the most smileyest smiles. I just want to get my hands washed and take my coat off and put my bag down so I can hug them. But they can't wait for even that, they have been waiting all day. And then the whining starts, and I get frustrated with them. Even though it isn't their fault. I (so maturely) think, jeez we get a half hour together and you are going to spend it whining. No fair to them! Anyway, this is just the rat race of a working mom, but it doesn't have to be this way, I have to intentionally wake up and get ready on my way home. Our kids have a great bedtime, so I know when I'm done I'm done, I know I just have to make it a little bit longer before I get to collapse. Just like at work when it's 3 pm. I can make it two more hours. I can make it.
This weekend I thought about how the rat race has been going in the evening, as I thought how I would fit in some after work exercise or an evening haircut. I decided I just have to do better.
Last night, I thought about not wanting to fake it and I was present on purpose, so I did. And because of that I so enjoyed my 40 minutes with the kids.
I ate and they sat with me and showed me their art work from the day, we played on the floor in the living room, Lily asked me if I would shower with her, and I didn't really feel like it, but I said yes because it isn't always about what I want to do. We laughed hard while Addie begged to have her nails clipped by daddy and then squirmed like she was in a torture chamber, laughing hysterically while he pinned her down in different angles to clip ( I got pictures, too funny). I showered with Lily , put Addie to bed, watched Lily & Lawrence play Bingo and then it was time for Lily's story. Instead of a story she chose to look at her Panda Bear postcards that Grandma and Grandpa got her from China last year, one of which they sent in the mail and she had me read their letter on the back. She was annoyed that I couldn't read the Chinese letters and said she is going to ask Grandma to read it next time she sees her (ha, warning Gma!) The rest we went through each postcard and made up a story about what the Panda Bears were doing.
Lily's favorite was 3 bears, one appears to be playfully biting another's foot, while another bear is kissing that bears back. I told Lily that it was me biting her foot and Addie was kissing my back. She laughed so hard, I thought she was going to pee her pants. It was that kind of infectious laugh that made me laugh and laugh too. She wanted to look at that postcard forever and laugh forever and so did I. Then we prayed, thanking God for those funny Panda pictures and the other things in our life that make us happy, sang rock a bye baby and rock a hmm hmm hmm, and I left her room. She went right to sleep. No whining at all.
I can't exactly explain what was different about last night. I didn't leave work until 10 to 6 and by some miracle I got home by 6:30. I was worried I might miss bedtime all together. I spend my whole life trying to make things perfect for my family, I care about every detail of their care, their learning and their day. I'm a freak about making sure they get the best out of each day, but if I don't slow down and enjoy it, being present for the precious moments I get with my girls while they are so young, I will regret it and there will be a day that they aren't happy to see me when I get home. I want to treasure every moment. I guess it comes down to attitude and priorities and remembering that you want to do it better than you are doing it. Then doing that.
Now to work on becoming a nicer morning mom in that rat race...sigh...I'm certainly a work in progress, just like the kiddos...
Oh yeah, Addie also said "I wuw you, Mama" when she looked at me. That topped the cake!