Head in the Game

In my mind, it sounds great. I look out the window and it’s snowing. Or raining. Or freezing. We’ve got nothing to do, so I call it a movie day. We pull blankets off the beds, pop some popcorn, and curl up on the couch for some cozy time. We’ll laugh at the funny parts. We’ll talk about the things they didn’t understand. We’ll re-enact our favorite scenes for the rest of the day.

In practice . . . I just can’t do it. I fall asleep. Or I lose interest. Or I’m antsy and distracted.

And it’s not just movies. Games too. Or just playing with toys. There are times, of course, when I can really get into it and help them build a mind-blowing train track, or get those last few stars on Cut the Rope, or bake the coolest three-layer color cake that ever was. Those times are too few and too far between.IMG_1042

This is not about being a “fun” mom or a “cool” mom. It might be nice to be those things, but I think that in the long run it isn’t terribly important to be fun and/or cool. It is about being a good mom. A mom who takes note of what her children are interested in, is aware of the media they are consuming, is able to talk to them about what they see and do like and don’t like and wish and hope and dream.

And I think that being interested in what they are doing and watching and playing and talking about is a big part of that. It’s building trust and showing respect. It’s investing in them now so they have something to give back to you later. It’s giving yourself the opportunity to guide them towards hobbies/media/people that worth their time and energy.

There was a time a few weeks ago when I sat down with Manchild, who was deep inside a puzzle book. I asked him to show me what he was doing. We worked out a few puzzles together. I was really able to be there with him. And I enjoyed it. But that is the exception.IMG_1049

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve decided that if I had a goal/resolution for this year, it would be this: be more interested in what my kids are doing.

Now, this is a bad goal because it is rather vague and hardly measurable, but I think it’s worth keeping in mind and being aware of the times when I could be more involved.

With that said, what do you think? How do you get your head in the game when you have a half-dozen other things to do? Any advice or suggestions? Please share. I’m all ears.

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1 Comment

  1. Lizzie, first you an amazing mom and an inspiration to me! My thoughts on the subject are that yes, our children need us to be in the moment with them, but not all the time, and not even most of the time. They need to also see us doing the day to day things that WE do, like keeping the house running, reading, studying, writing, etc. After all, they are growing up to be adults sooner than later and they need to have that role model in their lives daily. They don’t need to be treated like the world revolves around them. Mom is there for them when she can be, but she can’t give them her full attention every second of the day. This helps them be more aware of others and not so much into themselves. And remember, those feelings that are created when we really do connect with our children last much longer than just that moment. It stays with them at least until the next connecting experience.


    lizzie Reply:

    Thanks so much for your perspective, Bente! Every now and then I remember that “benign neglect” is not a bad thing, and gives them an opportunity to explore things on their own and become more independent. I just hope I’m balancing out my pursuit of my own things with those “real connection” moments well enough.


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