Lately I've noticed a change in Maja's behavior. Whining, acting out, and her overall mood has changed. I've found myself with less patience with her. Getting snappy and annoyed easily. Then, it hit me. It isn't her at all, it's me. Yes, she's acting differently, but she's doing so because of me. The last couple of weeks I've felt unsettled. I've been focusing on the negatives in my life and have been easily distracted. It's awful. A phrase M has been using a lot lately is, "look at me, mama" or "listen to me, mama". How sad is that? How unfair for her that she needs to ask me for attention at times.
As luck would have it, three extremely helpful articles practically fell into my lap, all on the same day, and were exactly what I needed.
Six words to say to your child - "I love to watch you play" how encouraging - but how often do I just sit there and watch her? Certainly not often enough. Sure, there are moments - but, I usually get distracted with work or chores and don't actually watch. This is such a great reminder to encourage her and actually do it.
The day I stopped saying "hurry up" - This article made me cry. I am guilty of this. What's the rush? M loves to do things herself; like get out of the car. Sometimes my hands are full with groceries, and it can take her a good 5 minutes to slowly and cautiously get out of the car. And the entire time I'm impatient. Why? I don't know. But, I certainly am stopping.
in breath, out breath - Again, Elizabeth posts something that slaps me in the face with the reality of my situation. And I'm so thankful for it. Kids need rhythm and they need our undivided attention. They need eye contact. They need us to truly listen to what they're saying. Ah, all of it is so true.
I reread The Happiness Project and it got me thinking about moments in my life of pure happiness. And you know what? They were moments when I was fully present. When I think of my happiest moments, they aren't in any spectacular situations or surroundings, they were moments when I was with people I cared about and I was fully there. When nothing else mattered. A recent was when Ivo, Maja, and I were playing on our bed; tickling and laughing hysterically. It was so pure and perfect. I want more of those times, more often.
My biggest distraction and downfall is, without a doubt, my phone. It sucks the life out of me. Do I really need to check instagram every hour? Are seeing pictures of others' lives more important than being present in my own? Is my twitter feed more important than the dialogue I can have with my family? Do my clients really need to be in contact with my at all hours of the day? NO. No to all of it. It's time to shut down. It's not fair to my family or even to myself. While I enjoy the relationships I've made with people on these sites, I can't put them before the people who are truly more important. I've made the decision that my phone can be used for mindless things only when Maja is sleeping. I think that's a fair compromise.
Ah, it feels so good to get all of this out. While I feel like a terrible mother, and the thought of M not getting the me she fully deserves makes me want to cry - I know that I can change. And I know that I will change. Because, she is the most important thing in my life.