Doing things FOR my kids is not the same as doing things WITH my kids.

This is a thought that haunts me. It haunts me with the Ghost of Kids Grown Up who ask me why didn’t I play Candyland with them (I can’t stand Candyland). It haunts me with the Ghost of Babies Grown Up who take so much time and so much effort and yet, did I savor every precious moment in the flurry of chores? Because, it’s gone, they are not babies anymore and will never be again. It haunts me with the Ghost of My Past and what I wished my mom had done with me or what maybe I don’t remember she did.

And yet, it’s so hard for me to switch gears from being a task-master of my own to-do list (and theirs) to being Fun Mom that can stop and realize that my seven-year-old won’t always want to tell me about the cannons and jet packs on his latest Lego creation and that my ten-year-old will stop telling me (every detail) about the book she’s reading and that my thirteen-year-old won’t always beg me to come watch a funny YouTube video and laugh with her.

I have things to do! Important things! Things that they can’t do and things that won’t get done (right) unless I do them. My righteousness with this sentiment is so strong at the time but, I have to figure out how to listen to these Ghosts and become a better Scrooge.

I went out to lunch and a day of shopping with my 13-year-old and it was fun! I had it planned in my calendar, so I shifted all of my other responsibilities around to accommodate our day together. I still accomplished everything, including the extra work around the Easter holiday festivities. Lesson learned: schedule the dates with my kids as if they’re as important as my work projects and household chores. Woah, I just read that…aren’t they more important, more lasting?

I believe this is what smart people call a paradigm shift. I need to shift my thinking before it’s too late. I know I won’t ever be sorry or regret time spent WITH my kids. I just need to get past the immediate needs of daily life and see the immediate need of playing, *gulp* dumb and pointless games that have no strategy and seem like they will never end. I have a 30-some-year-old embroidery thing hanging in my laundry room that my Great Aunt Dathel made for my mom that says,

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow
For babies grow up as we’ve learned to our sorrow,
So, quiet down, cobwebs

Dust, go to sleep
I’m rocking my babies
And, babies don’t keep

What are your thoughts and ideas and stories of successes and short-comings (let’s not say “failures”, K? It sounds so final) in this area.

Also, ask me how it’s going in a few weeks. I also have a deficiency known as, live-up-to-expectations-itis.