Or so I thought.
I suddenly had a thought over dinner tonight, it was one of those thoughts that will now haunt me and this is how it started.
We walked into town today to take the pug for a walk and so the girls could do a bit of pokemon and to pick something up for tea. As we were approaching town little one asked to go to the coffee shop and get a chocolate crunch. I explained that we didn’t have the money to do this which resulted in mini tantrums. Big one then asked why we were going to town if we didn’t have any money and weren’t going for coffee and why were we going to buy pizza for me (and the hubby) if we had no money? I didn’t think anything of it and we ended up getting a bit cross as they had both caught a Pikachu and now that moment was being tainted by attitude.
That was that and we eventually got home and the afternoon carried on. They played and argued, hubby played on his xBox and I painted (my new hobby).
I got the kid’s dinner first as they aren’t that fussed with pizza and then we sat down to ours and it was then that the thought crept into my mind.
What if the kids, mainly the big one as she is more aware now, think ‘they’ve just said we don’t have any money and now they are buying pizza for themselves’. The hubby poo pooed it straight away and said “but it’s food”. I agreed but at the same time I said it was unnecessary food, luxury food. Should we have thought instead of spending £7 on pizza let’s take them to the coffee shop?
Altimately that wasn’t what bothered me.
What bothered me was that I’m not sure we do enough anymore. The easy option is always well, easy! It’s too easy to expect them to entertain themselves and get on with it whilst he plays the XBox and I paint and then to moan when they argue and the house is a mess. It’s too easy to tell them to turn off their electronics and do somethings else, that might involve us (God forbid). It’s too easy to stick the tele on. I’m not saying these things are never ok but I’m saying that we personally have stopped making the effort. I said to the hubby I can’t help but think if we gave a little bit of actual time to them who knows what response we would get, maybe they would be more ready to listen and comply. He didn’t really say much but I could tell he was thinking maybe I was right but he also said he didn’t think they, mainly the big one, would be interested as her tablet and everything else is more important. I disagreed, so I said we’d put it to the test.
Here’s what we did:
Without saying anything I set both tablets up on the table ready to go and I went and got the box of lego. I said I bet within 2 minutes they would both be over joining in and wouldn’t even look at the tablets on the table. He scoffed, that was it challenge accepted.
Still without saying a word we both sat down and started building. Literally within seconds little one bustles over “what are you doing? Can I play with you”? She sits down and starts building. Big one took a little longer, to be fair she was watching the end of her program and it was only minutes but sure enough over she came (straight past the tablet) and starts building. I sat there rather smug but at the same time feeling so guilty that my fear was infact true. I even pushed it a bit further and said to big one that her tablet was there if she wanted it to which she said “no I want to play this with you”. We sat and played for probably a good 45 minutes even though it was getting close to bedtime and do you know what? I even enjoyed it and the difference in them after just 45 minutes of our time was mind blowing.
I decided to write about this not to make you other mummies and daddies feel guilty like me (oh the guilt) but to just remind you that it’s not too late. Try it, try just putting aside a bit of time for them and just them with no interruptions. Actually sit and take it all in and listen to them. I felt so happy but at the same time so sad that somehow moments like that have been lost. That life gets in the way. It’s always “in a minute” “not right now” “I’m busy “.. you know the drill.
It has made me realise that we do the best for them with what’s essential. We feed them, clothe them, do homework etc but what do we do for them beyond that.. That’s the question I asked myself and I was ashamed at my answer. I am a good mummy, I know that and I do a lot for my children but do I do enough of the things that really matter? I appreciate that week days are always hard and most days are one big mad rush but that should make weekends even more precious. Take time for them.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s never too late to make a change. Make things count. Make the time you have together count. You’ll find it’s the smaller things that will make all the difference.
Our children are precious, even though they drive us insane at times, and they deserve more.. Well mine certainly do, so I am going to try and give them something back and by something I mean time. Time is precious and priceless and so are they.