I have never been a very carefree person. I have always been a very serious person with a daily to-do list and I can't relax or enjoy myself until certain things have been accomplished each day.
But every parenting magazine I pick up tells me not to worry about the laundry, or the dishes, or cleaning the toilets. These articles preach about enjoying my kids now because they won't be little forever. They grow up so fast.
Easier said than done.
These articles never tell me how to stop the voices in my head nagging me about the laundry or balancing the checkbook. They never tell me how I'm supposed to enjoy playing with the kids when I know I've got "work" to do.
Then I read this post from Why Mommy over at Toddler Planet and everything changed.
She has Inflammatory Breast Cancer and is currently undergoing radiation treatments. She is looking at this from a whole new perspective.
She isn't trying to do things with her kids because they are going to grow up so fast. She is trying to do things with her kids now because she is afraid she won't be around to watch them grow up so fast.
And she is worried that their memories of her will be of her telling them "Not now. We'll play later." And she is telling them this not because she has some cheesy little to-do list but because she is tired from radiation therapy or because she is in pain from her mastectomy.
That really struck a chord with me. I have Multiple Sclerosis. And having MS means not knowing when the next flare up is going to occur and what form it may take.
I started thinking about this last week and I decided that the laundry pile can wait. The bills will get paid eventually. The toilets can be dirty for another day.
I really need to go play with my kids.
So I've been pushing them on the swing till my arms are sore. We've been playing Freeze Tag till I'm out of breath. We've been making Flubber and Muck. We've been pouring vinegar and baking soda in their volcano and watching it erupt.
I've been trying to live in the moment more. I've been trying to play more and dust less.
I guess in order for me to start enjoying my kids now before they are all grown up, I have to think about it from a different perspective. I have to think about not what I am missing, but what they are missing.
When my kids are older, I don't want them to remember a grumpy old lady who was constantly putting them off to do chores.
I want them to remember a mommy who was willing to stop making dinner in order to chase them around the backyard.
I want them to remember a mommy who was willing to push them "sky high" on the swing until her arms were tired.
I want them to remember science experiments and homemade play dough.
I want them to remember laughter and ice cream.
I want them to remember a mom who loved them more than anything in the whole world.
And I guess in order to make sure I get this done, I need to put my kids where they belong.
At the top of my to-do list.