Before I launch in to why it is okay to ignore your kids sometimes, I have to start by defending myself. I don’t want you to get the wrong I idea. I spend my days making food, taking drink orders, and cleaning up…for my kids. I quit work to stay home with them ALL. THE. TIME. I stand at the refrigerator countless times a day with my two-year-old and ask, “Do you want turkey? Do you want cheese? Do you want peaches? Okay, well what DO you want? Juice? Again??” I get crayons out, I put them up. I think up art projects for my four-year-old. I play Woody Woodpecker school. Yes, that’s a thing. I am a co-sleeping, babywearing, cloth diapering Attachment Parent.
But sometimes I say no.
Sometimes I say not right now. In a minute. Later. After Daddy gets home (which may or may not happen depending on if we remember).
And that, dear mothers, is OKAY!
I am so sick of reading all the articles floating around Facebook telling me to enjoy every moment, to stop saying no, to put down my phone.
Kids are resilient. And they are also smart. Do I want to train these little people that they can boss me around? That I will meet their every demand any given second? That I live to serve them? No!
I am a human being. I have interests outside of them. (Not entirely true, since my main hobby these days is cloth diapers, but for the sake of argument, bear with me.) Being my own person in front of them is positive. They NEED to see me watching Flip That House (even if it only happens for 15 minutes once a week). They NEED me to kiss their Dad first. They need me to say, “Mommy has to eat lunch, too. You can wait.”
I read an article today written by a mom who was apparently feeling guilty that her kids stopped asking her to cuddle with them “one more time.” Seriously. It’s okay lady. You have to decompress at night. You’ve loved them thoroughly all day. You gave them baths and sang them songs, you brushed their teeth, you read them stories. They will not grow up and say, “Mom, you stopped cuddling me at night when I was 5. It made me feel so unloved.”
When my oldest grows up (the little ones won’t remember), I imagine she will sum up these days of her childhood something like this, “Remember how Daddy always played silly games with me? I don’t know how he could make life so fun using nothing but his imagination. I missed him all day at work and I loved the moment he came home. But sometimes I still wanted you to put me to bed. I loved twirling my fingers through your hair and smelling your skin while you read to me. Even though you wouldn’t let me get out of bed unless I had to potty, and I know it irritated you when I disobeyed, you would always kiss me when you tucked me in. Even if you had tucked me in 5 times already and warned me I was getting a spanking if I kept it up. You still always kissed me.”
How do I know this? Because I know my mom worked and went to school when I was my oldest daughter’s age now (4). I know she wasn’t there a whole lot. But that’s not what sticks out in my memory. I remember crawling in her bed after she had a 12 hour shift at the hospital (and spilling fish food all over her hair, which she did not yell at me for). I remember when she bought our house and gave me a bath and realized we had no bath towels and wrapped me in her shirt. I remember her holding me on our egg crate mattresses that we used as a couch. And I am okay, and loved, and my kids are, too.