Being a mom of two kids two and under is not for the fainthearted. I often find myself searching the ends of the earth to find something good to take away from a long day of parenting.
But when I reflect on the best days I’ve had as a mom during my quiet time after they’re asleep, it’s not the time I took my kids to the zoo or to the aquarium. Don’t get me wrong, those days are great.
Mundane Moments Matter Most
The ones I remember most; however, are simpler. The day my 2½ year old wanted me to help him look for crickets in the backyard. The first time my 19 month old heard music and immediately bent his knees and bounced up and down. Those are the days that make my heart really feel full—the moments I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
It wasn’t always that way, though.
Before having kids, I told myself I was going to be “all in” for everything: 100 percent dedicated 100 percent of the time. If I could shake my head at my pre-child self, I would.
I used to tell my oldest “I’ll be there in one more minute” a dozen times at his request for me to “come play.” Or maybe it was the time our “activity” consisted of me filling up the water table so they could “play” and I could peruse Facebook for a few minutes.
A Shift in Perspective
It took a conversation I had with a mom whose children had grown for it to come full circle for me. She mentioned if she could get time back with her young kids it wouldn’t be to attend the piano recital again or the Christmas play one more time. Rather, it would be to relive the little moments—snuggling in mom and dad’s bed to watch a movie or spontaneously playing hide and seek when my oldest shouts out where he’s hiding.
I used to feel like I had to plan a ‘perfect’ day filled with fun activities; carnivals, aquariums, water slides, the whole nine yards in effort for my children to feel loved and as though I cared about spending time with them.
Talking to that mom with adult children shifted my perspective.
I’m painfully aware these kiddos of mine are going to be grown and gone all too soon. Are they always going to want me to play with them? No. Will they always want me around? Definitely not.
In the Meantime…
I want to squeeze every drop and ounce out of every day with them. I pray they look back on their earlier years and really feel their mom made an effort to spend quality time in those mundane daily moments—catching bugs, playing silly games and all.
If they can do that, then I’ll really feel as though I’ve succeeded as a mom.