Endeavoring to Enjoy: The Quest to Cherish My Children

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My title sounds awfully lofty, and my goal feels like a simple one. Well, simply phrased. I want to learn to enjoy my kids. It sounds simple, but anyone who has small children knows how hard this can be to do in reality. There are days when I find myself hiding from my children, if not physically then emotionally. But one of my goals for this summer was to try to occasionally set aside the to-do lists and really be with them. It hasn’t been easy. One thing after another has fought for my attention. Vacations, family wedding, church projects, swim lessons, fall homeschool planning (including serious curriculum debate and deliberation). For the first time this week, I feel like I’ve really stopped and willingly engaged them.

Before you start imagining me as some kind of super mom, let me bring reality into that vision. These are baby steps. My daughter has a half hour swim lesson each morning for the next few weeks. I’ve been bringing a stack of books and reading to my son. He sits in my lap and I read, read, read. Sometimes several books, sometimes the same one over and over again. It’s humid and the grass is damp. I can feel the sweat clinging to his neck and soaking his hair. He is a sweaty little ball of energy but instead of pushing him away, I pull him closer. Someday he won’t want to do this with me anymore.

My daughter and I pursue some low pressure reading exercises. At first she resists so I read aloud to the empty air, my son is always happy for mommy to sit on the floor with him and is immediately interested. Soon my daughter wants to make sure her brother doesn’t get the hang of this reading thing first.

Yesterday they played together happily in the living room with limited fighting and it felt like a dream. Rather than worry about whether it will last or rush to finish things up before they created trouble. I watched and enjoyed.

These are little things. Just moments. That is what I’m striving for right now. Grand plans of family bonding tend to go bad quickly. So for now I’ll settle for this. I wanted to share this small victory, not because I think I’ve accomplished so much. But rather because even these baby steps felt impossible not so long ago. So if you feel you’ll never enjoy your kids, take heart. I’m not there yet, but I’m on the way. You can be too.

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2 thoughts on “Endeavoring to Enjoy: The Quest to Cherish My Children

  1. I really appreciate this post and the simplicity of your goal- about the moments. Someone once told me that I tend to get myself caught up when I try to make a huge decision about how I will handle something forever versus what I will do today, in the near future, step by step. I couldn’t agree more. The big goals seem so overwhelming and I sometimes stop before I even start.

    Yesterday I was thinking that I wanted to tell you that I feel like I can appreciate your position even more now that I have been home with my kids for 1 1/2 months. As a mom who has worked full time since my kids were 6 weeks old, this is a big change for all of us. I have always known that being a SAHM was hard in the intellectual sense, but now I have the practicality of figuring out when to do household things and unpack and take time for me and make sure I am present for them. It is no easy balancing act, that’s for sure. And like you mentioned in a previous post, on many days lately I have had that desire to hand them over to JD when he gets home, though I recognize that not only does he need some time to himself, he is also busy with lots of things to do to continue to get the house in the kind of shape we want it (namely, painting. Lots of painting.)

    Yesterday I had the same blissful moment you did and it was great. The kids were playing in our back yard and they were mostly having fun, and instead of finishing the dishes right that second, I went outside and I watched them play. The funny thing is those dishes still got done later, and I was much happier having decided to let them sit for a while.

    1. Krista, we all do things a little differently. I’ve often wondered how working moms get things done. When I was working part time earlier this year (only one or two days a week) I felt like nothing ever got done. At the end of the work day I didn’t have energy left to do the dishes and laundry, let alone spend time with the kids. I think it’s a balancing act for all of us. Right now I’m trying to do write this response while helping in the play kitchen, providing train repair, boiling water to skin peaches for pie when I hear the laundry bell ding. This is a good morning. I’m continuing to look for those moments. Sometimes I have to create them. But usually my best bet is to be flexible enough to grab them when they come along. Glad you liked the post and happy to hear that things are going so well as you transition into your new life.

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