Mothering five children keeps me very busy. The maintenance of life - the cleaning, the changing, the feeding is nearly constant. Some days, I get to the end of the day and realize that though I've been with my kids all day, present in body, I haven't spent a lot of time really looking at them. Sure, I've noticed the pizza sauce on their shirt or the chocolate smeared on their chin, but have I really looked at them? I have looked into their little eyes to see how they are doing on the inside?
With so many, it's easy to look at them as a group and simply categorize their needs, determining the best way to take care of everything as efficiently as possible. One on one interaction is most naturally limited when the ratio is actually one on five. Such justification, while perfectly understandable, doesn't make that one on one interaction any less important.
Yesterday, I looked at my three year old and thought he looked bigger than he did the day before. You know how that happens? Of course they are constantly growing, but some days, you just notice. Don't get me started on my oldest son. He grows out of church pants on a monthly basis and has feet bigger than mine. In what seems like the blink of an eye, he has shaken off all signs of "little boy" and is right in the middle of "big kid."
This time, right now, in the throes of my children's childhood, is critical. The last thing I want, is to look back 20 years from now, and feel like I missed out on opportunities to really connect with my children. It might sound silly to think I could spend all day with my kids and not connect, but from personal experience, I know it's possible. So I'm trying to focus more on taking the time, every single day, to make sure my kids know that I'm not just here in body, cooking, cleaning and transporting.
I am here in heart and mind and there is no where else I would rather be. I'm going to really look at my kids and make sure they SEE me looking. I don't want to just see them grow up. I want THEM to KNOW that I am seeing them grow up - that I'm here, and totally invested. Sometimes that total investment is hard. There is, after all, so much drudgery that comes with the housework and the 24 hour care of an entire family. But it's my family. And they deserve it.
So, I'm looking.
MommyJ is an aspiring writer and stay at home Mom to five children. She lives with her children and husband of ten years in a tiny town in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina - a place she considers the loveliest on earth. She hikes to enjoy time with her family, runs because her love for food requires it, writes to maintain her sanity and blogs as often as her crazy children and busy schedule allow on her personal blog, www.mommysnark.blogspot.com