Cliff has been home since Saturday and he has been spending a lot of time with the boys. Thankfully I have had some moments of peace and quiet. And Cliff and I have had time alone as well. I had to wonder today if I need to make more one on one time with Holden when Cliff is home. Having a family is awesome but sometimes my needs seem overly important. I am still learning to balance it all. Some days I'm better than others.
I think 50% of the time I do o.k. Like today for example. Holden wanted to go to the store with me but we were visiting family. I was just going to run in and out without the whole family going. He was enjoying playing ball with his cousin, so I insisted he stay with his dad. He didn't cry, but it would have been good one on one time. I figured he was fine. It wasn't like I didn't spend time with him in the morning while Cliff was running errands.
Holden didn't give up on me. Once we got home it was time to make dinner and we were all very hungry. I asked Cliff to help the boys find something to do. He was able to keep Camden busy but a few minutes later Holden came around the corner smiling saying he wanted to help me cook dinner. Instead of feeling annoyed I grinned and said "you must really want to spend time with me." He agreed and helped put the rest of the groceries away and make dinner.
Before Camden was born, or when he was an infant, Holden and I cooked a lot more together. Now it is a lot more complicated so I shue them away a lot. Holden ejoys the time with me in the kitchen and I find it endearing. I'm working on listening to his needs more and trying to find a balance between trying to hurry up to get us fed and making time to say "yes" more often.
Being a mom is tricky business!! Our society tells us so many things: Dont' spoil your kids. Don't neglect your own needs. Put your husband first then your kids and then yourself. Put yourself first then your kids and then your husband. Don't be a martyr. You're worth it. Enjoy them now because soon they'll be grown and gone. Let them cry. It's good for their lungs. It's good for them to get used to being disappointed.
Most of the time I'm truly inspired by my kids and their overall kindness. I believe kids mirror our feelings, treatment, and respect of them back to us and others. Everything we do to them, good or bad, will come back to us in some way. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by this knowledge. But at the same time it keeps me honest with them and myself.
Having children who are happy inside and out is important to me. It's something I have to work at every day. My kids know what they need. All I have to do is listen to them and not the messages I was programmed with. All of our needs are constantly changing. And our love just grows.
In closing, it's really a wonderful feeling when Holden wants to spend time with me. It gives me hope for when I am old. Maybe "mommy time" will still be important to him as a man, if I can mirror his importance now. There will still be moments I may need to put my kids second. I think the trick is just knowing when to say YES instead of noooo.
(Photos: 1. Holden (3 1/2) making a donut 2. Heather, Holden and Camden at Sarah's, Aric's, and Erin's house, Oct. 2005)