I’m currently reading a book (yes, a book as in a hard cover book…when last?!) called MomSense – A Common-Sense Guide to Confident Mothering by Jean Blackmer. I think it was my mum who bought this book for me when Ethan was born if I’m not mistaken but you know how it goes with your first child…no time, routines to follow by the book, tiredness like you’ve never felt before and so on. As a result, I did start reading it, but I can see by the dog ear very early on in the book that I didn’t get very far.
Last week, I was cleaning out my cupboard (no, I didn’t even venture this far with baby number 1!) and I came across a few books that I had packed away – this book being one of them – and so I decided to give it a try. A lot of the stuff is obvious…or as the title says, even common sense…but you know when you read something that’s so obvious yet when you read it, the penny suddenly drops like you’d never ever given it a thought before?! Well, I’m having a lot of those aaahhhhh moments while reading through the book.
One such example is a passage I read today on having a sense of calm. The author’s steps on keeping your cool are breathe, prioritise, pray and trust. The passage that stood out the most for me was on prioritising. She writes…
“Most of us live a fast-paced, frantic life. One almost sure way to increase calm in a home is to cut out some of the chaos. We set ourselves up for panic attacks as we register our darling children for soccer, baseball, piano, pottery, swim lessons, Spanish lessons, play dates, and so on. Our desire to raise our progenies with all sorts of excellent skills has taken a toll on the family…I really believe we’ve become dysfunctional as a society with our tendency to over-schedule our children. We desire to give them good experiences – and that should include running around the neighborhood playing “kick the can”, getting all the way to “Mom, I’m bored”, and looking for bugs in the backyard. Stop the madness. Slow down. Let kids be kids”…and boy is she right!!!
Two examples came to mind immediately;-
1. Over the Christmas holidays, the hubster was on leave and told me that the one thing he wanted to do was to take Ethan to the movies. I asked him every day for a good week when he was going to take him and he actually never ended up going although to be fair, there wasn’t much on for Ethan to see and he did take him to play games and for ice-creams instead. I remember my dad saying at the time that I shouldn’t let it stress me out and argue about it as what mattered was that we were spending time with Ethan. Whether it be that we were playing ball outside or we were going to movies would not impact Ethan at his age. Having our undivided attention is what means so much to him, not where we are when we’re giving it to him.
2. At the beginning of the term, we received a list of extra curricular activities from school. Last year, Ethan was only at crèche for the last three months of the year and once he’d settled in, we decided it pointless to start anything only for a month or so, so we decided to wait until the new year. When we got the list of activities this year , we were both set on playball. At R800 a term though, it is quite a hefty expense to pay for the child to kick and throw the ball around…okay, I know it’s about ball skills and the likes but is it really necessary?! We had kind of decided that we’d give it a skip for now and revisit it later in the year, when his teacher suggested I ask him what he thought about it after the demo that they were going to get in week two of school. When I fetched Ethan that day and asked what he did at school as I usually do, he didn’t mention it at all. So I asked if he’d done playball and he said yes. When I asked what they did there, he said the man had a whistle that he kept blowing. And when I asked if he wants to do it again, he said…but I already did it!!
At any rate, after reading about priorities in the book and reflecting on the two situations above, it got me thinking that the author is so right! We really do need to, at times, slow down and just let our kids be kids. They’ll be plenty more movies to see and Ethan has many more years at school with plenty more activities to participate in. He has plenty of friends in our complex and is happiest riding his bike and scooter or kicking his ball onto our roof and this is when I see him enjoying being a kid, exactly what he should be doing. And funny enough, this is the time that I’m most calm and relaxed. When I can sit down and breathe, knowing that at that moment, he’s having the time of his life enjoying the simple things!!
Sometimes all it takes is a little momsense 🙂