I fill our days. In my efforts to ensure the kids are happy, healthy, physically active, socially capable, and mentally stimulated, I tend to overbook us. All of us. So much so, that recently Aaron boycotted a dinner date with friends. While I was upset at first, when I took a step back, I had to agree with him. Sometimes it needs to be just us.
I have a very hard time striking a balance. I tell myself that social interaction is good for the kids, that they have more fun with their friends than the do with their huge, often tired, very pregnant mommy, that it will give me a chance to relax. However, today I noticed some errors with those assumptions. I realized that when I schedule a play date at our home, I kill myself trying to make sure the place is picked up and sanitized. I realized that sometimes, the kids just want to stay home and play. I realized that they still think I can be fun, and they still want to play with me (even when I'm often tired and grumpy)...That one brought tears to my eyes. It dawned on me that we are constantly in the company of others (friends, cousins, grandparents, etc.); so much so that we are missing out on each other.
Last night I emailed the mother of one of Parker's preschool buddies to see if they'd like to join us at the Science Center today since it was supposed to rain. Luckily I didn't mention this to Parker because I didn't hear back from her before we left this morning.
I have to admit, I wasn't exactly thrilled at the prospect of taking the kids to the Science Center by myself (9 months pregnant), but as we fed the parking meter and skipped [they skipped, I waddled] toward the entrance, I found myself getting excited, too. I had a strange deja vu sensation. It reminded me of living in Seattle. We went places with friends, but I often took the kids out by myself. With no family around, we were frequently on our own.
There is something so refreshing about really watching your kids play. When it's just me with them, I am so much more engaged. I was on the floor building tubular creations, making pyramids out of foam blocks, and launching catapults. It was awesome! The kids had my undivided attention, and I loved every second...Well, every second until Maddie clawed Parker's face because he took over her computer game (at which time we all exited in a large, sobbing, whining lump of arms and legs).
By the time we were on the sidewalk again, they were skipping along. The whole trip was such a wonderful, eye-opening experience. It felt like a gift from God - realizing the kids are just that...gifts. They are not just responsibilities, little people to be educated, entertained, and cared for. They are here to enjoy me, and for me to enjoy as well.
I'm looking at my calendar in a whole new light. Time to book some "mommy moments" and "family weekends." I'm grateful to be learning this lesson while the kids are so young!