My little girl turned two yesterday. It seems like two minutes since she was born and only another two minutes since her big brother was born, and he’s 7! As much as yesterday was a celebration it got me thinking about how quickly this time is flying by. Yes there are times when they are driving me up the wall and I long for the day when they will be older and more independent and I will be able to at least go to the toilet in peace, but at the same time I want them to stay small forever. I want to remember every detail (OK, maybe I can live without remembering the tantrums and the screaming) and yet I feel like most days we are just going through the motions and I am already forgetting things.
With this in mind I am going to make a concerted effort to really make the most of the time I have with my children, not in the big days out and amazing planned activities sense, but in the normal hum drum of everyday life.
You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow, they’ll be a little older than they were today. This day is a gift. Breathe and notice. Smell and touch them; study their faces and little feet and pay attention. Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today. It will be over before you know it. – Jen Hatmaker
Here are a few ways I hope to achieve this:
When my children are talking to me or trying to show me something I will actually stop what I am doing and give them my full attention (unless I’m driving, that would just be dangerous;)). That means no half-heartedly listening while checking Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest/emails for the umpteenth time. No mentally composing lists/blog posts and politely nodding along while they talk. I have been caught out by the ‘what do you think mommy?’ question far too many times not to realise that they pick up on the fact you’re not really listening and it crushes me when I think how that must feel to them.
Spend more time playing with them
They both have so many toys it’s easy to think they should be able to entertain themselves and for a lot of the time I think it’s healthy that they do. But they also need me to join in on occasion. I do try to do this already but going back to the first point, I’m usually only half present. I need to put aside all other distractions for a short time each day to spend some quality time playing games with them, unleash the inner child in me and really get involved in whatever game they choose.
Have more one-on-one time
This is especially important with my 7yr old. The 2yr old gets me to herself everyday while her brother is in school (apart from holidays of course). We already have our own ‘snuggle time’ after the 2yr old has gone to bed at night but lately this has lapsed more into us both sitting playing on our iPads and although we are sat next to each other we’re not really connecting. The 30 minutes before he went to bed always used to be for stories and talking about our day and anything he had on his mind and I want to bring that back.
Make a daily record of all the small (and big) things
My journaling has always been rather sporadic but for a while I was making the effort to write down the highlights of the day in the form of 3 Beautiful Things, inspired by Clare Law at threebeautifulthings.blogspot.co.uk. (Unfortunately that blog is no longer being updated but it’s still worth checking out the old posts for a bit of inspiration.) It is a very quick and easy form of journaling and some of my favourite entries to look back on are in this format, so I want to get back to doing that too so that I don’t forget all those moments that made me smile. Also, taking those few minutes at the end of the day to record the good things really shifts the focus away from the days stresses and arguments (over which food they hate this week, not wanting to have a bath/go to bed/tidy their toys etc) and ends things on a positive note.
How about you? Do you feel like time is going too fast? What do you do to make the most of every day with your children?