Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Do you enjoy every minute with your family? Honestly.

I was reading another mom-website and the question of the day was something like "what makes your life well lived"and one response was "enjoying every minute together with my family and never taking a moment for granted."  Really?  Every minute?  Never?

even she doesn't love every minute with her family
This isn't the first response like this I've read, I'm sure we've all read them in family and parenting magazines, mom-sites, newsletters and neighborhood listservs - the mom who enjoys her kids every live-long day and loves doing everything with them and wants them around her all the time.  Not me.  And not only that, (shhh - I don't want to hurt their feelings) but I think those moms are lying.

I love my kids.  I mean it, I really really do, like any other mother bear, I'd do anything for them and want the best for them, and love them to the bottom of their stinky feet.  But do I want to spend every waking moment with them?  No.  Do I want them helping me with every meal prep?  No.  Do I want to read every book with them?  Go on bike rides with them every day?  No.  Because we all need our own space sometimes.  I need to be able to fix a meal without worrying if they are reaching over the stove or knocking the chef knife off the counter onto their toes.  I need to be able to go for a walk and breathe and think and not have to pull them out of the poison ivy patch.  They need to learn to entertain themselves without my direction and say to themselves "good job" without my approval of every doodle they draw.

And don't we all take our time together for granted?  Don't we always think there will be another sunny, spring day to go to the playground.  Then the kids are big and they don't want to go to the playground.  I know there's been many a time I thought I should play a game of checkers, but I'd rather finish my coffee instead.   Yes, I should've spent more time doing fun stuff while they were pre-school age, but I didn't realize, and then forgot, how quickly that time passes.  I'm sure over the next few days, there will be occasion when I should've spent a few more minutes doing something with my kids, but I will be on Facebook instead.

And I have regrets, too, for some of those moments I didn't enjoy or took for granted.  I still regret that I didn't take my daughter to see the elephants march thru DC on their way to the circus.  I wish I remembered what my children's voices sounded like when they first started to talk.  I regret taking my daughter out of piano lessons because it was inconvenient.  I wish I hadn't sent my kids to pre-school so early and kept them home another two years as I originally planned.  And I'm sure as I go forward, there will be more added to that list.

Every time I read one of those "I love everything about my kids/family/life" responses, I think, really?  Because I can't say that I do.  Instead, I think that what makes my life well lived is knowing that my children know I love them without end, despite not wanting to be with them all the time and missing precious moments, and having some regrets about it all.  But I wouldn't give it all up for nothing.

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