Blowing bubbles, chasing butterflies, zooming cars, and dress ups are treasured moments at our home these days. These are little glimpses into the beauty of motherhood. With two toddlers, aged 2 and 4, I confess I find it challenging to stop the daily to-do list and sit down by their side and explore the world together. It takes deliberate focused action. I am not one so eager to slow down when I want to be most productive with each passing minute. Dinner is calling, dishes fill the sink, and Karis asks for a story. But these little ones are growing up before my very eyes. When I chose to be intentional, my children blossom. They are so much more happy, secure, and satisfied even when I just take a few moments to focus on their interests in particular on a regular basis.
How hard would it be to invest an intentional 30 minutes with each child on a daily basis? That has been the gentle call upon my heart lately. I don’t want to miss out. I want these precious gifts in my hands to be lovingly cared for, nurtured, watered, and brought to fruition into a full beautiful full life. My little ones have been entrusted into my care by a faithful and loving God who has honored me with this task of motherhood. I need to refocus. I need to stop focusing on all the work involved in raising them up, and start enjoying the special things that delight and bring laughter to their souls.
Could I stop today and dance together with them across the living room floor? Could I get down on my hands and knees, even with belly protruding, and get enraptured in “zoom” noises with little cars? Could I enjoy apples and peanut butter on our back deck and talk about the latest favorite book, story, or event on my daughter’s heart? Can I just stop and see? Can I see the delight in their eyes when I ask them what they want to do and then do it with them? Can I let go of the laundry and sit down and play a roaring game of “Go Fish” with a girl who loves games? It is these simple moments that memories are made, relationships are built, and the joy of living becomes more fully known. This is where my heart and theirs is nourished and restored.
Here’s a little inspiration for investing in your children (thanks to Gospel Centered Families):
- Show love – Our first responsibility as a parent is to love our children. Be affectionate. Tell them you love them. Always say good night. Take time to simply snuggle together. I remember snuggling with my daddy up until I was married.
- Take time to talk – Your children won’t talk about deep, personal stuff with you, if you haven’t first talked about a load of trivial stuff. Write letters to each other.
- Eat together – Meals are beautiful times for talking and bonding. Turn off the TV and enjoy each others company. Make the dinner table gathering a sacred event.
- Be creative together - Read to them. Build lego castles. Bake cakes. Start a shared hobby.
- Play with them – Kick a ball in the park. Pretend to be pirates. Board games. Get on your hands and knees.
- Plan memories – Growing sunflowers. A treasure hunt. Sleeping in a home-made den. A special date out with each child individually enjoying coffee or simply a walk around the park.
- Telling stories – Create your own stories or share stories from your past. ‘Do you remember when…?’
Ultimately, it doesn’t require a lot of planning…just the ability to stop, get down to their level, and enjoy life from their view! When I stop, my joy and love for them grows. Each day becomes more beautiful.
“We can remind ourselves that we do not need to judge our daily lives by how much we accomplish. There is real value in simply being present, for our children. For when we reclaim the realm of motherhood, we also protect the honor and province of childhood.” - Katrina Kennison, Mitten Strings for God