Dear Family and Friends, It’s Not You. It’s Me.
It’s 9 am and just moments before, I feverishly put on an episode of Curious George. With the hope that the toddler will be entertained long enough for me to take a shower, alone. This means that at tops, I have exactly 7 minutes. I quickly race to the bathroom and on the cusp of stepping into the shower, the phone starts ringing. I know that answering the phone and even talking to you for just a few minutes means that my shower will more than likely end with the toddler standing, pounding and screaming at the door.
Even though you are just calling to say “hi”, that “hi” will possibly cost me a shower, a tantrum and more as the avalanche of unintended consequences mount. Don’t believe me? Ask any other parent and they will tell you the same thing. Our time is limited and so is our ability to sometimes stay in contact with the outside world.
Really, it’s not you. It’s me, because although I appreciate the fact that technological advances have made it such that in today’s modern world we now can respond by phone, email, text and more in just a matter of seconds, I also don’t really appreciate it.
Right now my life is a juggling act. Juggling work, school pick-ups and drops offs, running errands, planing meals and more. Sometimes it feels like I am living life on a life sized weights and measures balance. Each step I take, ultimately affecting the balance of the rest of the day.
I know, I know, you think I should plan better or call you when the kids are asleep?
Have you ever sat to snuggle a little at bedtime that had a bad day at school or just needed it, and as you lay there snuggling you have accidentally fallen asleep only to wake up hours later to a clock flashing midnight? Never mind the list of other things your accidental sleeping just made impossible.
Or perhaps I should call you during nap time?
Yes I will call and talk to you while I am loading and unloading loads, yes loads of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, paying bills or generally trying to keep my home from falling into the dark abyss of dirty laundry and unending chores it threatens to become without my small contribution in the opposite direction of the great abyss.
How about that texting?
Yes, I will text you and in that same amount of time the toddler will shove a giant handful of cars down the toilet and I will drop my phone in there while I am trying to dig them out. Or her older sister will start screaming from the bathroom that she is out of toilet paper. Or at the same moment the teen needs help with her homework. It just goes on and on…
How about putting on a movie to make those calls?
To kids, such “entertainment” is best experienced with others. Once you put on a movie, children DO NOT stop talking. If there is an exciting part, even if you are sitting right next to them, children still feel the need to tell you all about it. If you are not really paying attention, well then they will make sure to monologue the entire movie. Now if you get up to answer the phone, they will happily pause the movie, just so you don’t miss any important parts of the movie you have watched dozens of times with them, but that means you will have them dancing circles around you the entire time you are on the phone.
And then summer happens and there is NO such thing as free time when all of the children are home.
This is my life right now and the life of many other mothers and fathers everywhere. Our lives are full. And yet quicker than we imagine, someday in the not too distant future, the days are less full. And so if we don’t take the time now, we will mourn for not having taken it with our precious children when we could have.
So dear family and friends, someday soon I promise to answer that call more quickly. For now though, I will continue to send those Christmas cards and try to post my kids cute and adorable moments on social media. I know this isn’t always enough and you would rather chat more frequently. I wish I could, but I can’t.
It’s not you. It’s me.
Know this though, I will always be there for the important moments of your life, and when you MOST need me, just maybe not for the quick “hi’s”.
Stay Happy! Stay Informed!
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