I’m a mom. I remember people saying it’s the hardest job in the world. Though…they never qualified that statement. As a kid I think I took it personally, as if I was hard to deal with as a child…ever!?!?! But now, as a mom, and an adult I can’t believe how incredibly true that statement is. If only back then, the adults around me explained…I wouldn’t have taken it personally.
Being a mom is hard because you have never loved another creature more than you love that small, tiny little human being that comes into your life kicking and screaming. Being a parent means you live with your heart outside of your body walking around in the form of little human beings that want your every single moment. I am always reminding our students and players to be nice to their parents because no one on earth loves them more than them. I also explain to them that they won’t understand that love until they have a child of their own. I know that was true for me.
Parent love is an irrational, crazy kind of love that makes a parent want to make everything right, everything happy and everything easy for their children. No parent wants their kid to suffer through anything…ever! Whether it’s striking out at little league or having their first heartbreak…we want to protect them from all of it. But that’s not really healthy either, right? People have to fail to understand success, likewise, people must have their heart broken to know true love when they stumble upon it. There are countless case studies to support this, from Michael Jordan to J.K. Rowling, that suggest failure and heart break are natural and often teach us and motivate us more than anything.
But…How. Do. You. Get. A. Kid. To. Understand. That? Yes, I left all that punctuation there…it was necessary because it’s an impossible question and I’m pretty sure my life’s quest. As a mom, as a teacher, as a coach and as a human being that loves other human beings and never wants to see anyone suffer…I want to know the answer to this question.
As a mom, teacher, coach, wife, daughter, sister, friend…I’m a perfectionist. And a beater upper. I’m hard on myself about absolutely everything…and that is not awesome. I am constantly beating myself up for things, most of which I cannot control.
I lay in bed each night and think of ways I can equip my kids, students and players with the right tools to be a happy, confident, successful person. We tell our children and players all the time that the most important thing is that they believe in themselves. We tell them that so many times in life people will doubt them, or second guess them and that they CANNOT be doing that to themselves. And I believe, you can’t be truly happy unless you are confident in who and what you are and what you do.
I can honestly say that I have that gift. That doesn’t mean I don’t second guess myself. It means I know my own worth and I know what I am good at and what I am not good at and I utilize my gifts to the best of my ability. I’m proud of that. I have my parents, coaches and teachers and now husband to thank for that…
Now, I’m sure I don’t have all the answers to the question of how you get a young person to understand that heartbreak and failure are part of life or that they can do anything they put their mind to…but in my recent findings I have discovered this…the best gift you can give your kid or any kid for that matter…is your undivided attention and your time.
Recently, Bryan Dorsey, my husband, gifted me not with his time but with my own and reminded me that sometimes it isn’t about how much I get done but instead how much attention I give. A few months ago was Mother’s Day and for my gift I was awarded a Panera gift card. Cool, right? I love Panera, doesn’t everyone?
But that’s not all…Bryan rearranged his whole schedule (as he usually arrives at work before we even leave the house in the am) so he could take the kids to school and I’d then have the opportunity to take each kid one by one to Panera for breakfast. I couldn’t have loved this idea more.
We have 5 kids with 5 different schedules, not to mention our own schedules, jobs, etc, etc. So to say we have alone time with each kid on a regular basis isn’t reality. And anyone who has even one child knows that sometimes when they want your total attention, often at night (when you have worked all day and still have lunches to make and papers to grade or files to enter into your computer or emails to answer) that that moment is the hardest to give them the time they desire. Kids are always neediest when you aren’t on your “a” game or want your attention when you have 1,000 other things to do.
But…they deserve better! Kids deserve our time, our attention and our understanding. Now I’m not suggesting we shirk all duties and attend to their every whim…but here are my thoughts.
Bryan provided me with the gift of time the week of Mother’s Day and it was the greatest one he could have given me.
While I spend a lot of time with our humans this one on one time in the car driving to Panera, eating our breakfast and then driving together to school was such an incredible gift. I got to know my kids even better. We discussed everything from our favorite foods to what we would do to change the world. I looked them in the eyes the entire time, there was no cell phone out, no interruption from a sibling or a phone call or a computer. Just me and them totally dedicated to spending time with each other. I didn’t think of it until my second date (sorry Cooper) but I did take my phone out once each date only to take their picture. They all had the biggest smiles on their faces and I could see them growing in confidence simply because I gave them my time. It was one of the greatest weeks I’ve had as a parent. I’m so grateful Bryan thought of it and I’m forever thankful for the reminder it gave me.
Spend quality time with your kids. Whether it’s reading them a book at night or listening to them read to you or letting them sneak downstairs to watch an inning of the Royals game when they are having trouble falling asleep…it fills these tiny humans up. Their cup literally runneth over when we give them our undivided attention! And quite frankly, it doesn’t take much.
Time and attention makes kids feel important, validates their feelings and gives them an opportunity to know you as something other than the person that drives them to practice, makes dinner or imposes rules on them.
I know it’s hard. So hard. But, I also know…it’s so awesome and so worth it!
Good luck and enjoy your time!
Fletcher and I got to go to our happy place Deanna Rose after our date. It was our extended breakfast date!
Didn’t think to take a picture of this guy Cooper during our date we were just too busy talking and he went first!
Ellen was arguably the most excited. She and I talked and talked and talked. It was so great. Her smile says it all!
My Moose Finley Joseph. In addition to getting large amounts of his food on his shirt we had an amazing time talking.
This girl…Fiona Bell was a star as well. We had a blast and she ate the house!