Lately, when Niall asks me to do something, like play a game, work on a puzzle or read a story, I find myself coming up with a million excuses why I am too busy to do it-- and they all feel very legitimate at the time, but it still eats away at me.
I just spent an hour trying to get Niall off my back about this encyclopedia of animals he recently got as a gift. He always asks me to read the Octopus & Squid page; it's the only one he's
interested in and his face lights up every time like he's never seen it
before. It's priceless.
"After I make lunch... after I do the dishes... after I put Brendan down for his nap..." and then after sitting here on the computer for ten minutes, just realized that I never sat down to read it with him.
How can I be this busy when my job is to stay at home raising my kids? And yet somehow, I am. I've been feeling a lot of guilt about this recently, especially after noticing that Niall has now just learned to move on to something different after he repeatedly asks me to spend time with him and I repeatedly put him off. It's with friends, too. I can no longer pick up the phone to touch base with someone I've been wanting to catch up with because it's too hard with the kids either all over me during the day or asleep and fear of waking them with my chatting.
I wish there were just a couple more hours in a day, but I know deep down that if there were, they would just be filled with some other "to-do"s. I try to take the boys out to do something fun with their little buddies most weekday mornings, but when it comes to one-on-one time, I have been seriously slacking.
Niall is so sweet and I can't help but smile when he gets excited about the littlest things or makes commentary that doesn't seem to make any sense whatsoever. "Yea, mom, spiders are mean, but spiders are actually nice. Spiders like kids but they don't like mommies and daddies and grandpas," and other ramblings like that.
It's hard to believe that in a couple years, he won't be asking me to play with him anymore or wanting to have conversations about which animals are which or why people are allowed have the same favorite color. I want to savor this time, and even while I see it flashing before me day by day, I make a conscious choice to clean the house, and make long, complicated dinners that involve lots of dishes, and work a couple hours a day, and write on my blog, and check my email... and not play with my kids.
The problem is, cleaning and cooking and working are all things that actually do need to happen. It's not like I'm out shopping, drinking and gambling. So where do I draw the line? That's what I'm working on. There has to be a way for me to spend more time with these guys-- really tuned in to what they are doing and not just sitting next to them thinking about other things, robotically saying "oh, cool, mm hmm."
Teaching my kids to be independent and self-entertain is definitely important to me, but showing them that I care and I'm interested takes the cake.
So I'll continue to work on this, and finding the balance in general, and hope that it will somehow all fall into place.