How is it that my girls are already so big? B is 5, A is 3 and Grace is still itsy bitsy, but she will be 16 before I know it! Okay, I don’t even want to think about that yet. But what I’m trying to get to, is that time flies. You need to make every day, every minute count. I want my girls to look back at their childhood and remember the fun mommy they had. Not a mommy that was too busy, or too stressed, or too tired. And with the way my last pregnancy went.. I’m afraid that is exactly what they will remember. After Grace was born, I felt like a completely different person. I’m more productive now, than I was even before I was pregnant.
After being sick for 9 months (okay, maybe 8 months), I felt so disconnected with both of my sweet girls. I slowly felt like I was losing B, she just didn’t see me as fun anymore. My sweet A, that I have always been so close with, was beginning to act out, A LOT. Yes she was in her terrible 2’s/3’s, yes we just bought a new house and was in the process of moving, and yes, I was about to give birth to another baby girl. Meaning that although she will ALWAYS be my baby (they both will!) she’s not officially “the baby” anymore. So with all of her acting out mostly because all the changes that were being thrown her way, I felt lost and so far away from my beautiful sweet girls.
How could I have let that happen? They won’t always be here wanting to play Barbie and paw patrol with me, so why couldn’t I just overcome my constant nausea and heartburn and just be the most wonderful mommy, like they both deserve?
Mom guilt is strong with this one.
Well, I’m not sick anymore, I am sick of not being productive though, and this mama is back in action and determined to make things right. I don’t want to lose my girls, and I will do anything to mend the connection with them, before it’s too late.
And I will never give up.
Change yourself first.
My first steps on re-connection are working on some things I struggle with most often.
Turn off technology.
Between my blogging, and backing up photos, and making photo books, etc. I am always on my iPhone or iPad. Don’t get me wrong, all those things are very important. But I limit screen time for them, therefore should not be a hypocrite.
Leave the housework.
You may have come across this poem on Pinterest. It’s actually a part of a bigger poem, but every time I read it, it brings tears to my eyes. Every. Time.
Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
but children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby. Babies don’t keep.
Agh. All the feels.
That poem though, is something I try to keep in mind. Doing housework is very important, but there needs to be a time set aside for those hardcore cleaning moments. Do your dishes absolutely have to be done this very second, when your child is wanting to play? Or can it wait till later? The dishes will be there later, I promise. If you make your child wait for later, and then try to play with them, they may not want to play anymore. I’ve done that a few times and it kills me to think I should have just played when they asked the first time. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t get all my cleaning done today.
Create a journal
I came across the idea of a journal on Pinterest (where else?). This can be a photo journal, a scrapbook, or just a place to jot down memories or funny things that happen. It’s something that will be nice to read years down the road, for you and your kids. A trip right down memory lane.
75 ways to have fun with your child this year.
- Read together. Free books every month. 1000 books before kindergarten.
- Make a rain stick or other instruments and make some noise.
- Picnic in the backyard.
- Make ice chalk.
- Ice cream in a bag.
- Scavenger hunt.
- Homemade popsicles.
- Wash the car.
- Slip and slide.
- Pool noodle boat race down the slip and slide.
- Marshmallow fight with marshmallow shooters.
- DIY play doh.
- Ice block excavation.
- Silly string fight.
- Make tie dye t-shirts.
- Make an obstacle course.
- DIY snow.
- DIY slime.
- Face paint.
- Make snack necklaces.
- Make brownies.
- Cook dinner together.
- Let them help you prep lunch for the week.
- Finger-painting. Try No-Mess Paint for toddlers.
- Make a colorful foam bath.
- Make a bird feeder.
- Bingo or other board games.
- Sponge ball fight.
- Water gun fight.
- Create backyard carnival games.
- A to Z scavenger hunt.
- Paint with bottles.
- Catch fireflies.
- Color together.
- Water balloon piñatas.
- Splash in puddles.
- Make colored spaghetti for dinner or play.
- Play dress up.
- Do Random Acts of Kindness or make Kindness Bags.
- Match foam shapes and other “busy bag” ideas.
- Fly a kite.
- Go out to eat.
- Take a train ride.
- Try geocaching.
- Visit different parks and find your favorite.
- County fair.
- Take a hike.
- Take a day trip or weekend trip.
- Vacation Bible School.
- Children’s museum.
- Air Show.
- Hot air balloon show.
- Flea market.
- Outdoor movie in town. Ours is called Lawn Chair Theater.
- Splash pad.
- Roller skating.
- Pick your own fruits or veggies at a farm.
- Petting zoo.
- Farmers market.
- Amusement park.
- Story time at the library.
- Mini golf.
- Yard sale day.
- Go Bounce! Find a bounce house or trampoline park.
- Paddle boats on the lake.
- Go shopping (at the Dollar Tree).
- See Free or $1 movies at the local theater.
- Car show.
Just have fun
Putting away all the tech and just spending good ole fashioned quality time together is the most important step you can take to connect to your child. So, if nothing else, turn off the tv and just play together. Even if you have things to do, or you don’t feel good, or maybe you find it boring to play silly pretend games. Just give them a piece of your day, one on one. To you it may just be a short time out of your busy day and you make not think it will make a difference, but I promise you this, to them, it’s everything.