Since I posted about finding my Mark, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to things that I want to improve in my life. While I don’t have a shortage of projects I’d love to focus on or skills I’d like to develop, I couldn’t help but realize that I actually don’t have a lot of spare time on my hands in which to do these things. Yesterday, for example, between taking Manchild to his little pre-school, going to and from the library where I hangout while he’s there, walking to the produce stand near our apartment, and making a trip to the thrift store to take advantage of 50% off day, I walked about 6 miles. I also did some freelance work, made dinner, put the boys down for naps, and blogged. It wasn’t until after 11:00 that I sat down to unwind. Clearly I needed to evaluate my priorities to find a Mark that was worth chasing down amidst all these other tasks. It couldn’t be something unessential, I decided, which pretty much knocked out all the competition and left one thing: my family.

It boils down to this: I want to have a good relationship with my family. I want to be there for them in body and in mind — which is something I struggle with. Yes, I spend all day with my children, but how much of that time am I the distracted, multi-tasking mom and how much of that time am I actually mothering? A lot of the time I am just getting by as far as being a mom goes, I’m just doing the basics: I feed and clothe the kids, I put them down for naps, I pretend to watch when Manchild asks me to look at him spin on one foot for the 46th time in one day so that I don’t have to listen to, “Mom, Mom, look. Watch me, Mom, watch!” any more. But my heart isn’t always in it. And what kind of a mom am I if my heart isn’t there?

My Mark, then, is to change that. To focus on my family, on our relationships, for just a little bit of time each day. To me this means that I give my family the same focus that I give my running. I plan for it. I make the effort. I sometimes sacrifice sleep or showers for it (not that I don’t do all those things for my family anyway . . .). But mostly, that I put my heart into it. I mean it when I tell Manchild I’m going to build a tower with him. And when we’re building the tower, I don’t try to do something else as well.

I’ve been trying this for a week and it is hard. I expected that. It wouldn’t be worth doing if it wasn’t, and if there ever was something worth doing, this is it.

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