I gave myself permission to JUST BE today.
And while my kids didn’t exactly thank me for it, I have to believe that it’s days like this they’ll be most thankful for. Days where I’m not just around them, but actually with them.
I was gone all weekend to run a long distance race I really wasn’t prepared for. Which means my body took a beating. I returned home late, the kids long asleep. And I woke up early to bid my husband farewell as he departed for a week of business travel.
So, with weary eyes, aching bones, and my partner-in-parenting gone, it was easy enough for me to give myself a day off. Well, as much as possible, at least. I still fed the kids, over and over. I still read books and helped with school work. I still did laundry. And dishes. I still endured a too-long bedtime routine and fought the nightly battle over brushing teeth.
I still fulfilled my duties as a mother. Because we all know that when it comes to motherhood, there’s never truly a day off.
But for much of the day, I just sat. With my kids. On the deck as they played. In the grass as they searched for ladybugs. At the table while they snacked.
I sat and listened to them. I sat and watched them. I sat and held them. I sat and sat and sat without constant excuses as to why I had to get up.
And as we sat together on the back deck, the sunshine warming us, I wondered why I don’t do this more often. Why I don’t take the time to let the sound of their laughter spark joy in my heart. Why I don’t take the time to listen intently as their imaginations spill from their lips. Why I don’t take the time to really look at them, knowing they change with each passing day. Why I don’t disregard time in order to stop and take it all in.
Why I don’t allow myself to just be with my kids.
And I guess I know why. It’s because things have to get done. And there are a whole lot of things to do. And the responsibilities as an adult and mother are never-ending. Realistically, there isn’t all that much time to sit and breathe and take it all in during this point in my life. Realistically, days like today just aren’t possible all that often.
Sure, I had plenty of good excuses to SIT and BE today. I mean, I can hardly move my body after two days away and an excruciatingly hard run. But it turns out I already had a pretty good excuse to kick my feet up – I’ve got kids who need to be heard and seen. And sometimes the best way for that to happen is to lower my expectations, set aside the to-do list, and take a break.
Not ALL the time, because really, there isn’t one mother who has the time or capacity for that.
But maybe it’s time to stop coming up with so many reasons why I can’t just sit and be with my kids and start recognizing all the moments when I can.