This morning, as I was loading the breakfast bowls into the dishwasher, scraping Rice Krispie shellac into the garbage disposal, I heard my five-year-old yell from the bathroom, “I! Need! Privacy!” Sure enough, the next sound I heard was the giggling of my younger two in the hall outside the bathroom and the scratching of my two-year-old daughter’s nails on the door.
My mama bear instincts flipped on and, with a deep sigh, I turned off the faucet and grabbed a hand towel, ready to march into the hallway to sort out the problem. As I was drying my hands, though, I heard my three-year-old say to his sister, “Let’s go, Katie. He needs privacy.”
I could hardly believe my ears: my three-year-old and his Ironman levels of defiance and stubbornness modeling cooperation and respect? No tears or tantrums? And before I’d even arrived on the scene to mediate?
And then I realized: It’s not always all on me.
My kids are still little, but my boys especially are become better and better problem solvers. I don’t have to referee every disagreement and stop every meltdown. And, when matters of life and limb aren’t involved, the more slowly I step in, the more quickly they tend to solve their own problems.
Especially among my new mom friends, I hear a common lament: “I miss having time to read!” And, boy, how I relate.
When my kids were infants, I was more likely to use the hours I spent in my nursing chair to check in on Twitter or thumb my way through People magazine than I was to dive deeply into a great novel. But I also found that I was a happier, more balanced version of myself on the days when I made time – even just a few minutes before collapsing into sleep at bedtime – to read a good book. You see, reading is my comfort, my passion, my alpha and omega. It’s one of the things that makes me happiest and makes me, me.
It’s never truer than in the first few years of motherhood that if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. So make time to read every day — or paint, or bake, or waterski.
Give priority to the activity that makes your soul sing and you’ll teach your kids to follow their own passions — and to respect yours.
I have a little crush on an Englishwoman with a posh accent (no, not Kate Middleton, although, okay, yes, her too).
This one lives inside my iPhone and is the running coach for Bluefin’s Ease into 5K app. Perfect for novice runners, this easy-to-use app provides voice cues that correspond to Cool Running’s awesome Couch-to-5K running program that can make a runner out of just about anybody.
I love how the voice prompts work even while I listen to my Pandora station (Classic Rock Power Workout alternating with Lady Gaga, of course) so I can find my flow without obsessing over the clock.
Happy trails indeed.