My days are full and busy often from waking until just before bed. Some times I feel like I am just too busy and overwhelmed by the to do list and activities in my day. I think as adults we often are pretty good at working at our own self-care. We think about what we need to wind down after a busy day or week. We might find a funny show to watch, call a friend, or take a hot bath (or whatever you do to unwind…insert here…)But it is not every day that I stop to think about how my kids are feeling about the busyness of their days. Are they feeling tired from being with a group of kids all day? From so much learning? Rushing out on the morning and the busy evening of chores and homework? A rushed weekend full of errands or family visits? They are still learning self-regulation and are often at the mercy of of adults dictating their schedules.
So as I have been recognizing this challenge for my kids, something I have been trying to do in our evenings and at some point in our weekends is just create space to be. To relax. To de-stress. Not just for me or my husband, but for my kids too.
We have been turning off screens and doing mundane activities together such as dishes or folding laundry while we chat about their days. I let my 7 year old stay up late last night and taught her how to pair and fold up socks together this week. This may seem like a basic chore but in the busyness of our lives we just had never done it. We talked about the kids that bullied me when I was little, my best friends, and my childhood. These are moments that are so precious but easily lost in the busy every day life. The other evening I let my 4 year old scrub dishes while I made myself patiently help her out soap on each dish and turn the tap on to rinse each once. She found joy in being helpful and also seemed to relax in the repetitive task of washing, rinding, and repeating.
Some evenings we read books or have long tuck in cuddles. Tonight we did crafts. I find my kids need an hour of quiet before bed. No screens, just quiet connection. Sometimes we need play a board game or do a craft.
It can be tough as a working mom as I think these moments just naturally occur for families with a stay at home parent, but we have to actively work to create these calm, quiet spaces outside of our busy schedules. We have to pause our responsibilities and give space for connection and relaxation. We have to sometimes set aside our own needs to give that one on one attention. We have to push through that I’m so tired and just want to check out feeling and dig deep for that patience after we’ve given so much to others all day long.
I remind myself of the memories I have growing up of helping my mom bake bread, lying on the floor and just imagining life upside down or just being silly to be silly. I want my kids to have space and time to create fun memories too. To remember lying on my bed watching me fold laundry and chatting about the ridiculous thing someone said at school today or the crazy idea they thought of. I want them to have room to create, to just be.
My daughter made this creation today, out of her own design and it was such a good reminder to me to provide her with the space she needs to grow, to create, and to relax. They only get to be kids once, so for now I will do my best to continue to create those moments where time seems to stand still and they can simply be.