There are many nights when I come home from a long day at work, completely exhausted and spent. Yet, I still have a list a mile-long of things that need to be done: make dinner, give Little J a bath, clean, finish the laundry, etc.
I have learned that if I sit down when I get home, none of those things will get done. Once I’m down, I’m down. Typically on nights like these, we end up ordering take-out and sitting in front of the TV all night, putting off the list until tomorrow.
But if I don’t sit down, I find that I can get everything done. Dinner will be on the table, the laundry will be done, and the house will look neat and tidy.
On nights like these—when I am in what I call “the zone”– I often neglect the one who needs me the most. I might hear, “Mommy come look at this!” or “Mommy come play cars with me!” And can you guess my response? “In a minute baby,” or “When I’m done with dinner.”
How is it that I can put off my entire to-do list to watch a ridiculous reality TV show, but I can’t take two minutes away from the laundry to watch my son do a somersault on the living room floor?
All too often I try to occupy my son with toys and movies so that I can get my chores done. But even if he had all the toys in the world, he still would not be completely happy. What he actually wants is to be noticed. He wants to played with and acknowledged. Most of all he wants me. He wants to spend time with me. The thing he needs most in the world is to be loved by me.
So will it really ruin the dinner if I spend two minutes looking at the tower of blocks that he just spent fifteen minutes building? I am pretty sure dinner will survive. But if I continue to put my son off, he may resent me in the future. And I am certain that I couldn’t survive that.
There will always be a list of things to do, but there is only so much time that my little boy will be a little boy. And I don’t want to miss one minute of it.
QUESTION: What distracts you from giving your children what they really need?
CHALLENGE: Even if your to-do list is long, give a few minutes of attention to the person who needs you most.