Sometimes I am simply underwhelmed (underwhelmed as in not impressed, not that I’m not overwhelmed like the rest of you). My life is not routine or boring, not for a second. I am a mother to three enthusiastically energetic and wildly creative young children. And my work is no walk in the park. Every work day, I spend ALL day working with incredible young learners who call me “teacher.” (I know . . . . they really should know my name by now.)
It’s just that the every day monotony and routine of life settles in. Get up. Get dressed. Get ready. Get everyone else ready. Go to school/work. Work hard. Do good things. Go to soccer practice. Come home. Make dinner. Monitor bath time. Do laundry. Clean something that’s dirty. Brush teeth. Read a book. Sing a song. Sleep. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Does the monotony ever get to you?
Sometimes I just want to hit pause, but it’s not usually so I can enjoy some precious moment. Instead it’s so I can fit in some chore or responsibility I haven’t managed to squeeze in yet.
Lately it feels even worse because my husband and I are both working on other projects for our jobs. We are squeezing every ounce of workable time from every single day. Somebody asked me the other day what show I liked to watch on TV, and I literally had to scavenge my brain to remember the last time I had turned the TV on for myself to watch something. However, I could easily recall the last 13 shows my kids had watched on Netflix within the last two days.
I think that’s when it all began to sink in.
My life is out of balance . . . .
Even with all the routines in place.
There are times in life that are busy or hard. But I’m looking out at the next two to three years and don’t see an end in sight.
When I thought back about my childhood, I had to ask, “Is this what it was like?” Of course there was no Netflix back then in the olden days. There was only Batman: The Animated Series on “Fox” and Sesame Street on “PBS,” and neither one got great reception on our big, boxy tv. So I remember playing outside. I remember reading books. And I remember some very sweet moments, funny moments, scary moments, sad moments, moments so full of love you could feel it wrapping you in an embrace…moments at the Balloon Fiesta, Uncle Cliff’s, along the Bosque, at Roller King, or at Lovelace Hospital.
My kids can’t watch Netflix for two years while I pull myself together!
I don’t remember all the day-to-day stuff, the monotony of my childhood. I don’t remember what I had in my lunchbox for school, or when I learned to read, or add and subtract.
I don’t remember pulling weeds, but I do remember making mud pies with my mom in our backyard. I don’t remember what color our car was, but I remember riding my bike really fast down a steep hill, scared out of my mind of how it would end. I don’t remember what our Christmas tree looked like, but I remember the year we didn’t have a tree so we drew a picture to put on the wall instead. I remember making messes in the kitchen, although I have no idea what we were making. I remember going shoe shopping with my mom, painting Easter eggs with my sisters, and driving like the wind to get to a sick loved one.
Experts say that having a daily routine is very important for children, so they feel stable and secure. I believe that. However, it’s not the moments that were the same that I remember. I have no idea what our routine was. (Maybe we didn’t even have one!)
I’m not sure exactly what my kids will remember when they are older, but I sure hope it isn’t laying around watching Netflix for hours on end. I know I can’t make every moment exciting and beautiful. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Someone has to clean the toilets and fold the clothes and make the lunches. But I do want to be sure to use every moment to the best of my ability.
What memories do you have from childhood? How do they influence your parenting?
From mine I have learned that I don’t want to pass up a single moment I have with my little ones. I want to value and treasure every moment we share. Recent events remind us that no one is promised their next breath, and very day we spend together is a precious gift.
So if we have a few free minutes, we better have a jump rope contest, or break out the flashlights and make a tent out of bedsheets, or go for a walk to see that glorious New Mexico sunset.