Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fooling My Kids

"...let them rest in the security of knowing that mom cares enough about them to drop everything else."

I seem to have gotten into a bad habit of trying to fool my kids into thinking they have my undivided attention when I am only giving them partial attention.  But, the thing is: I think they've noticed.  Of course, I can't just sit around and give my children my undivided attention all day long.  Nothing would get done if I did this!  There is laundry to be done, bills to be paid, a dinner to be cooked...the list goes on. But, I've come to realize that when I look back at my day, I haven't devoted much (if any) of my time to JUST them.  Time that is not interrupted with important thoughts or tasks, but time just spent on them. 

Sure, I can spend time with them and it can appear that I'm giving them my undivided attention.  But, my mind is on a hundred different things that I've "gotta get done."  In the process, I'm frustrated and my kids are a bit unruly, to say the least.  Not that I can blame their imperfect behavior on the fact that they are not getting my attention.  I know my kids are going to make daily mistakes, no matter what I do; however, I am discovering that when I really devote time to just them, things seem to be better.  

I try to let my children learn to help me now by doing daily tasks.  For example, my three-year old can "help" me cook by stirring food in the bowl, helping me unload the dish-washer, etc.  I enjoy multi-tasking, so I guess I always thought this was enough: we were spending time together while I was getting stuff done too.  What's so wrong with that?

I've come to the conclusion that nothing is wrong with letting my children help me, and it's a good thing to multi-task.  But, I am also learning that part of the day needs to be devoted just to them.  Time to shut off my mind, let my cell phone go to voice-mail, and let them rest in the security of knowing that mom cares enough about them to drop everything else.  Some days, I may only have 10 minutes to devote to JUST them.  Other days, I may have an hour.  It doesn't matter how long, but it matters that I'm making it a priority each day.  

It may sound crazy, but I feel like my kids are much more obedient when they receive this undivided attention each day.  Each day is still full of battles, but somehow it's just a little easier.  The more I think about it, I think I'm a much nicer person when others give me their undivided attention as well.  Why would my children act differently? 

I'm so thankful that I serve a God who is always there for me, and that I don't have to worry about Him getting too busy with other things that I get ignored. May we all take time to spend with our Heavenly Father each day so that He can teach us how to best use our time.  

"I look up to the mountains- does my help come from there?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!  He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber... The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever."  
Psalm 121:1-3,8

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