When I was home with my girls I worked hard at being intentional with my girls. I planned craft activities, we had picnics, we did Bible study, and we made trips to the library. We had fun swimming and bird watching, planting flowers and just enjoying the simple things that make childhood special.
Fortunately I had the time and energy to spend a lot of quality time with my girls.
Now, I teach Elementary Art and I am the School Librarian. On a weekly basis I work with 350 kids, then come home to my 3 girls. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, all my time and energy started to shift to those 350 kids and I didn’t have much left to give my three girls.
I could see it start to happen, I tried to stop it, I tried to be super mom and I was failing miserably. I would be up until 1:00 in the morning to make super special treats for my girls to take to school for their class, but I didn’t let my girls help me in the kitchen. After doing Art all day with little ones, I didn’t have the energy to sit down and do an art project with my own little one.
After disciplining kids during the school day, I wanted to come home and have my girls be perfect. My excuse was, “they know better”. I forgot that they were kids, they were not perfect, and I could not be either.
This summer I am helping with a daycare program through the school. My job is to play with the kids. There are some structured activities and free time, but my main job is to spend time interacting with the kids. The first day I went to the school my younger girls stayed home with their older sister. When I got home at the end of the day I felt horrible.
I had just spent 8 hours playing with other kids and realized it had been a long time since I had played with my own kids. I went swimming with 44 kids, I was right in the middle of the pool playing with them. It had been years since I had got into the pool with my own kids.
I came home that day and begged my younger girls to come with me to school the next day. They do have to share me with the other kids, but they are spending 8 hours playing with me. We have done bird watching, drawn together, played dodgeball, made jet packs and spent time in the pool.
It definitely is not the same as being home with just them, but it was a huge step in the right direction. When I was at home with my girls I focused on being intentional with my girls. I had lost sight of that along the way. Just trying to survive the transition to being a working mom.
In Julie Ferwerda’s book, One Million Arrows she says,
“The fact is, many of us know the road we need to take, or at least we have access to the right maps and road reports, but too often we’re looking for shortcuts–a way out of the longer, seemingly harder road of raising our kids with an eternal perspective and a biblical worldview.” - Julie Ferwerda, "One Million Arrows"
Not everyone would agree, but I do believe that part of God’s plan for my life, right now, is to be a working mom. However, it is not part of His plan for me to take a shortcut raising my daughters to be faith filled. It is not easy to find a balance. Right now, I think life is just going to be a little crazy.
I realize that it is about the quality time I spend with my girls, not just the quantity. It is about walking beside them, raising them to Love the Lord. And right now, that is having them with me at work, not at home.
I could be spending this summer at home with them and still not spending quality time with them. I could be working on house projects and writing projects, working online and letting them play with friends. Instead I am playing with them again and I don’t think we will ever forget this summer.