Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Distracted Mothers

"Time on earth is finite. The days of childhood are numbered. Distracted mothers are a curse to their children." --Elizabeth Foss

As I mentioned in this post, I am trying to abide more with my children during my time here. Not that I really have a choice, because right now, I am with them 24/7, as they say. But really I wouldn't have it any other way. Here are some of the things in retrospect that I realize I have been missing by not being fully present when they are around.

How my boy smiles at me first thing when he wakes up and says, ""Mornin', Mama!"

That my middle sweetheart is a real physical touch girl, always wanting her hugs.

Swinging my baby on a swing in the park to her heart's content.

These things and so many more I am having my eyes opened to on a daily basis. All because I'm trying to really see, hear, and feel the moments that I'm living in with them. I can't tell you when was the last time that I pushed my baby on a swing and enjoyed it. To me, it's always seemed that pushing the child who can't swing herself is just what you do until they learn to do it alone. Usually, at home, instead of wanting to push my littlest one in her swing, I would want to "watch" my children play while I read a magazine or read a book, while enjoying a soda from the chair parked beside the play gym. Yep, that's the honest truth about things. Instead now I am watching her face, those "David Letterman-esque" teeth smiling at me gleefully, and her hair blowing like cornsilk in the wind. I'm listening to her giggle and say "Wheeeee!" I'm thinking about the gift of noticing her in all her God-made glory. And I'm not missing my magazine-and-soda sittin'-in-my-chair time at all.

I loved the above quote by Elizabeth Foss when I found it at my friend Marybeth's blog. Foss is the author of the book, "Real Learning", which I kept reading great reviews about and stashed in my luggage to London. She also keeps a thoughtful homeschooling blog here. As soon as I read the above quote, I couldn't get it out of my head. How exactly could a distracted mother be a curse to her children? And in thinking much about this quote for the past few weeks, I think the curse comes in doing exactly what I'm talking about here...by not noticing and not attending to her children. I'd like to go a bit further than Mrs. Foss and say that distracted mothers are also a curse to themselves. Because they don't know what they are missing out on. You know how I know this don't you? Been there. Done that.

Today, we went to Battersea Park Children's Zoo. It was a fun little place, a delight for children really. It's very accomodating for children with small animals, a petting area, and great little descriptions for each animal. There's also a great play area and a quaint cafe. But here's what I noticed at Battersea. Lots of little people there with their mummies. Their distracted mummies. At one point, as I looked around me, the majority of mothers that I saw were on their cell phones while their children looked at the animals, or played on the swings, or tried to get their attention. I don't judge any of these mothers. I am one of those mothers, for heaven's sake. How many times have I typed away on my keyboard while one of my children asked me to play a game, or for a glass of water, or my all-time favorite, to wipe their little bottom? But, after really reflecting on this quote for the past weeks, I guess the distraction stood out to me, and I mourned for these mothers. And I mourned for myself, thinking about all the little moments that I've missed because I, too, have been distracted. Or sometimes, even worse, (confession time here) just "doing my time" until Daddy got home and I could escape.

So, I'm learning a lot on this little field trip that God has me on. And I'm purposing not to be a distracted mother. Not here. And not when I return. For the blessing to my children. And for the blessing to me. The days of their childhood are numbered and finite after all.

No comments: