Just two minutes into playing a game of Battleship with my 6-year-old, I was already feeling grumpy. My 21-month-old wanted to participate, and his participation–as he climbed up onto the table next to me–was far from helpful. I struggled to keep him away from the game, my attempts at distracting him unsuccessful.
In my head, I began to plan my retreat. How would I end the game and move on to my list of things to do? This wasn’t working out, and my 6-year-old would understand, right?
As I looked over at her, I noticed something: she didn’t care. She didn’t care that I was struggling with the little one. She didn’t care that perhaps the game wasn’t being played quite right. A morning when mommy agreed to sit down and play was a treasure to her. She was perfectly content with the circumstances and was enjoying every minute of it.
Following her lead, I decided to adjust my attitude. I determined to give her the time I had promised her, and even more, I determined to enjoy this moment with both children. I turned my battle case toward the toddler and showed him how he could push the pegs in and pull them out again. I laughed as I watched my boats constantly being shifted by his curious hands. My heart soaked up my daughter’s joyful giggles whenever a successful play was made. The game was far from accurate, but the moment was beautiful. The circumstances didn’t change, just my attitude.
It is easy to fall into an idealist attitude of motherhood, hoping for moments worthy of a Hallmark commercial. When those, inevitably, don’t happen, discouragement can creep in. If I let that discouragement take over and allow myself to be picky, I end up throwing away precious real moments with my children for the sake of an ideal that doesn’t exist.
When it was time to clean up the game and move on to our tasks for the day, my daughter let out a deep, satisfied sigh, “That was fun, Mom.”
Yes, my sweet girl. Yes, it was.
QUESTION: When is it hardest for you to enjoy the real moments with your children?
CHALLENGE: Think of ways you can let go of the ideal and make the most of what you have in order to embrace these precious years as a mother.
Image from Bing Images.