This morning a tweet from Candace at @seemummyjuggle alerted me to The Mom Challenge – her mission to spend 30 days slowing down and enjoying the smaller things in life by following the list of challenges below (originally from iMom). I love it, I need it and I’m joining in.
Today’s mission was to ask your children “What is one thing we can do together this month?” and then quite simply, to go ahead and do it…
First I asked my baby, who made a seal noise. I called on my great mother wisdom to interpret. She wanted another feed. Easy.
Then I asked my 3 year old son, who because he has no sense of time, assumed I meant the one thing we could do together, right now. “We can play with the space station, your favourite!” he piped up delightedly, unpacking it from its toy library box before I had a chance to ask him how he knew.
And so it was that we spent an entertaining hour with the two spacemen, Bob (likes burgers), and Blob (likes quinoa with secret cheese, eclectic taste these spacemen) dealing with various space crises. Baby sister took on a familiar role of space engineer, dismantling the space station for ‘tests’ each time her brother put it together (these highly scientific tests generally consist of putting very technical space equipment in her mouth while sucking on the head of either spaceman). Luckily, her patient brother was much more interested in the imminent arrival of a “space asteroid whale shark” intent on eating all of the stars in our galaxy, swiftly followed by an alternative project to construct a holiday home, with a lift, for the spacemen to escape to and baby sister to attack.
It was a magic hour. I loved having the excuse just to play with my kids (while my husband cooked us dinner, lovely). And to remember that of course I don’t need an excuse. Today is the one day when my son is 3 years, 7 months and 26 days, and my daughter 21 days past 9 months. It’s never going to happen again. I want to live it, with them.
Of course I have to work and I love to write - for me, and for money. Getting the balance right is one of my biggest challenges as a mum. But instead of wasting energy on things that don't really matter, (like the house, as per usual, being a tip) I need to treasure the unique experience of being here, with my kids, right now.
While it really was a magic reminder, it wasn’t entirely idyllic and I’m not the perfect mum. Along with delight at my son’s inventiveness, and pride at how beautifully my children were playing together, I noticed myself checking my phone more often than I should have. A modern curse, this desire to be always in touch – with friends, with work, with tweets and emails.
I think I will need to add a Day 31: spend a day with your kids without checking your phone. Could I manage it for an hour or more? Could you? We shall see. In the meantime, tomorrow’s challenge is “Go the whole day without yelling at your children”…