After a very satisfying Saturday morning run, I made quietly my way inside and headed for my shower. I was now ready to think about everyone else.
During my runs, I focus on myself, listen to a couple of podcasts and plan out my day. I basically visualize myself as Brain with plans for total world domination. If you don’t get that reference, you either weren’t a parent or kid tuned into Cartoon Network during the early 2000’s. That, I cannot help you with. But I can at least show you the theme song so you can get an idea.
Once I hit the shower, I shift gears and go over what I need to get done with the family. Every day I play catch and practice some baseball with my youngest. Sometimes I don’t want to, but I force myself. It’s a way for us both to have fun, be physical and it’s all about him. The hubby joins in on the fun sometimes as well, but mom is always game for a game. Get it? I know, too easy not to be cheesy. Ugh, sometimes I don’t know when to stop.
I take the kiddo to the batting cages every other day and we also have chat time most nights where he hops into the bed and we talk about school, friends, hopes, life, politics, world events and everything in between for a few minutes.
I’m going to be honest here, I rarely did this with my older son who is now grown and out of the house. And I regret it every day. I had no idea how fast childhood goes. I was so busy career & business building and being a baseball mom and carpooling that when I WAS home, I wasn’t really there. Then one day I blinked and he was gone, off to Afghanistan to fight in a war.
We had a lot of fun as a family and did spend quality time together, but I wasn’t quite as tuned in to the person he was becoming and enjoying him as I am with our youngest. We still did a great job, as today he is a man we are very proud to have raised. But how I wish I would have just hung out more with him and chatted or did silly stuff.
Seeing how fast the little kid giggles disappear have made me take immense strides to make sure I consume all of the joy that parenting can bring, even with the things we view as chores. Yesterday, my son asked me to show him how to stop his computer from running Skype every time he turns it on. I was in the middle of a project, so I told him that I would show him later. My project took longer than expected, and I didn’t get a chance to help him out before I went to bed.
Today, I sat down with him at his computer and walked him through the startup menu options in Windows and how to enable and disable programs. It may be a mundane thing to mention, but I see it as an honor. It’s an opportunity for me to teach my son while he still looks to me for guidance, and at 14, I know those days may be numbered. I also know that I have been able to stretch out the days of him still seeing me as wise and cool and fun to be around, because I actually work at being all those things for him.
When he is around his buddies, he doesn’t find the need to act like I’m stupid or annoying. Instead, he includes me in the conversations and so do his friends. And sometimes we all play catch together or talk about world events or dumb teenage jokes. And then my wisdom kicks in and I leave them alone so that I leave on a “cool mom” note.
Aside from stressing how important I truly think it is to spend genuine, quality time with your kids, I also have another point here. I said I would do something and I made sure I did it. By always keeping my word, I am teaching him a very important life lesson. Be a man of your word.
Think about all of the things you say you’ll do for your kids or with your kids and you just don’t get to it. We all do it, and we don’t really notice, because it’s our kids and we sacrifice a lot for them. But they are watching what you do so much more than what you say. So I challenge you to make a very concerted effort to really do what you say you will do for your kids. The effect is pretty amazing.