Calling all busy parents
I want to share a few things with you, because I know a lot of you will be feeling like me. You are busy. Perhaps you are busy with a job you love or a project. Perhaps you are busy trying to do things around the house. Maybe you are caring for a sick relative or friend or you just have a lot on your plate.
Parenthood is a roller coaster and it is always busy. Busy getting out the house, busy rushing about to the park or soft play when the kids need to burn off energy. Busy attempting to tidy up all the crazy mess. Busy being a taxi driver. Busy trying not to freak out about play doh or paint carnage. Busy trying to rush to the gym or fit in a quick shopping trip.
I want to remind you about my old pal ‘Perfect’ Mum. She is a horrible nagging voice of guilt that comes into my head every now and again. The busier I am, the more she shows up.
“Your poor kids, they think you don’t care about them, you are always too busy – other parents play with their kids way more than you do”.
Ouch, that hurt. Back off bitch.
This week the guilt has been ominously close. It’s been B U S Y with full caps. So I sat my kids down and said something like:
“I love you both so much. Even when I am rushing around and forget to say it”. Then (ok I am desperate) “do you guys love me?”
“Of course we love you Mummy”. Phew. ‘Perfect’ Mum continued to speak to me though:
“I bet they would love you way much more if you actually spent more time with them. You are too busy and you are missing these precious years. You will never get them back you know that right”?
AHHHHH SHUT IT. Leave me alone you nasty, horrible voice. I tried but I couldn’t ignore it – ‘perfect’ Mum 1 – Mummy Jojo a big fat 0.
I hear myself mutter to my poor little people:
“What do you love about me?”
Seriously, how needy am I? By this point I had lost my two year old to Topsy and Tim and my four year old looked a bit confused. She then replied “I love you when you give me chocolate, take me to nursery and tickle my back”.
It got me thinking. Are we too busy worrying about being too busy? The times I slowed things down a bit over the festive period were lovely. I got down on the carpet with the kids and played for ages. I did an entire Frozen jigsaw (my 4 year old got bored after the first 10 pieces). We made loads of hot chocolate and ate christmas cake like it was going out of fashion (because it was and I was sad about it). It was nice while it lasted. But it wasn’t real life – phew for my abs.
Just because we are often busy, it doesn’t mean we can’t show love to our kids. We just need to learn to do it quickly some days (in my case Monday to Friday). I’ve always been big on quality not quantity. When I think back to my own childhood – these are the moments that stand out in my memory:
Chocolate treasure hunts – this is currently my kids favourite thing. Right busy people, I know what you are thinking – it sounds time consuming. Trust me, it ain’t. The squeal of delight when they find a chocolate treat under their pillow really is magical. The time they take to look for it also allows me a few minutes to tick things off my busy list – love my weekly planner by the talented Cherith Harrison.
Dancing and singing around the house – this month I have definitely been making more time to do this. I am bored of my February Instagram post a music video a day challenge already (day 9). I will keep at it though as they say it takes 28 days of doing something to make a habit. I have not made enough time to enjoy music over the past few years and it always lifts the mood in our often chaotic, busy house. As for the car and being stuck in a horrible traffic jam – music helps that too. Busy people HATE traffic jams. Road rage is real. I say ditch the middle finger and turn up Ed Sheeran (Radio 1 it is ok to play other songs too though).
Building towers with dominoes and then knocking them over – great fun.
Getting cosy with stories in bed – a nice way to slow it down. I love reading and I give my parents and all those that read to me as a child full credit for that. Reading takes us to a magical place and pop up books like this one I reviewed earlier are awesome.
Looking at family photos and video clips together – this is a really nice, non time consuming bonding process. You can even be replying to emails on the sly at the same time if need be.
Negotiating a tickled back – it’s a win win – the little people often like to repay the favour.
Decorating pizzas – Saturday night essentials pre movie or X Factor (in my day Blind Date and Jim’ll fix it – but let’s not go there).
TV – it brought me a lot of joy – fingers up to you ‘Perfect’ Mum.
Family walks – these were mostly over the weekend or on holiday when there was a 2 adult to 3 child ratio.
Being told I was loved – this takes a couple of seconds but has a lasting impact. I love to do it with loads of kisses and cuddles at the same time. As in a proper smother fest just so they know this busy Mama is crazy about them.
So my memo to you busy people – I know it is SOOOOO hard but try not to waste time with parent guilt. My kids scream “I love you so much Mummy” when I serve them their favourite dinner or give them a chocolate bar. They love us for the little things more than we will ever know.