Some questions that have helped me remember that caring for my children doesn’t have to be complicated ...
The screeches and yelling from the living room sent my heart rate through the roof as I raced down the stairs to see what was going on.
Dried pinto beans were everywhere. One thing after another happened today. I was preoccupied with my to-do list, and somehow my kids and their needs kept getting pushed to the side. My distractedness made them use increasingly crazier tactics to get my attention. And the pinto bean stunt worked. Here I was, very annoyed, and they had my attention.
Did I respond well? I wish I could say yes … but, no. I ended the day wishing I could just redo the whole thing.
Instead of replaying the mistakes of the day, however, I have found a way to refocus on hard days. I’ve realized I need to do little things every day, no matter how hard or crazy those 24 hours are, so that I can look back on something from the chaos with gratitude.
Here are some questions that have helped me remember that caring for my children doesn’t have to be complicated …
Did you make eye contact with your child today?
The power of being seen is real.
Did you smile at your child?
What we all want is for someone to find us delightful. For someone to enjoy who we are completely and unreservedly. Enjoy your child! Laugh with them, smile with them, smile at them. Help them realize how lovable and delightful they are!
Did you feed your child?
Maybe it wasn’t thes best meal you wanted to make, but the act of feeding them is what is important.
Did you say your child’s name with love?
I catch myself only calling my child by his name when I’m asking him to stop doing something. But, it is powerful to hear someone say your name with love just because they are happy to see you. Try it.
What was the sweetest thing your child did today?
We naturally focus on the negative things that happen in a day, so it takes work to make sure you notice the positive. But, it is very important to be able to see the good, sweet, and beautiful things about your child to balance the obvious negative moments that will stand out.
What is a recent high point your child has had?
This is similar to the previous question, but just make sure you are noticing it (and vocalizing it!) when they improve in some area, even in the littlest of ways.
Have you complimented your child this week?
Tell them, specifically, what they are doing well!
What would you like to work on tomorrow?
Instead of wallowing in parenting self-pity, note where you went wrong and decide how to fix it tomorrow (or the next time you are confronted with this specific situation or this specific cocktail of certain behavior in this certain environment).
Now, you don’t have to be able to do all of these things every day. This is just a list to jumpstart the kinds of things you can be on the lookout for. I’ve found that by running through these at the beginning or end of a week, I can train myself to get little love moments in regardless of the chaos. All saints who were moms or dads, pray for us!