I should track my steps each day. It has to be close to 100,000. I’d say 30,000 steps come from getting everyone three meals and three snacks a day. About 20,000 steps would come from getting the kids dressed and dealing with costume changes throughout the day. A good 10,000 steps would come from diaper changes and trying to wrangle the baby for said diaper changes. And the remaining 40,000 would come from trying to keep everyone alive – racing to grab the falling chair, darting to pick up the small bits of debris on the floor the baby is about to eat, and breaking up fights. Yes, it has to be 100,000 steps.
I get a lot done with all this bustling about. Even though it seems the to-do list is never-ending, I do check off a lot of items everyday. However, one unintended consequence of all this bustling is that I’ve become a moving target for my kids. For example, they start most conversations with me as I’m walking out of the room on a mission. This drives me crazy. I used to think it was them not knowing proper social cues, but when I’m walking by them for a mere two seconds, it’s all they can do to get out a few words before I’m gone.
Another indication I’m a moving target is that early on, my middle child, who didn’t have many words at the time, would put up his index finger and say “min-it” like I did to him so many times when he asked for something. “Just a minute, hun.” “Hang on one minute.” “I’ll be there in a minute!”
It really came to light one day a few months ago when, for a rare moment, I sat down on the floor. Within seconds, all three kids were coming toward me. My baby crawled over and climbed up on me to stand until we were face-to-face. My middle son sat in my lap, and my oldest daughter came over behind me and started playing with my hair. I was a kid magnet. It meant so much that my kids wanted to be near me, but it also saddened me to see how hungry they were for ME. Here I was, bustling about each day trying to give them healthy meals, fun playdates, tidy rooms and clean clothes, but in doing so I was unintentionally withholding what they needed most.
Since becoming aware of this, I’ve tried to spend more time getting down on the floor with my kids. Without fail, each time I sit down, at least one crawls over to me for a snuggle. They need this. I need it too. After all, THIS is the stuff that made me want to be a mom. To be with my kids, snuggle them, love them. I didn’t become a mom to do more laundry and dishes. And while those do need to get done, I’m reprioritizing these days. I let the dishes sit longer because they will always be there. The times when it works out to sit and be with my kids aren’t guaranteed, so I prioritize those moments and we are all the better for it.