Oh wow. Is anyone else's head spinning because of the speed of time now that the school year is underway?
You may have read my lovely advice about how to make the start of the school year smoother, and then followed that up with the recap of how our start of the school year was the opposite of smooth...
You will be glad to know that we have found our groove over here, and are back to a place of relative peace and calm.
One thing that keeps coming up for me is the need for connection with my kids in the morning and in the evening.
Now, all of us that send our kids off to school every morning, and try to get them into bed each night, can agree that these times are ripe for conflict. The children move at their own pace, as if the world waits for them, while we are hyper-sensitive to time, feeling as though any lollygagging will result in them missing the bus or never getting to bed...
Unless, of course, that's just me...
When we look at the morning through this lens, so much unnecessary mischief can come into play. In the mornings, I sometimes catch myself taking on the role of drill sergeant, barking out orders, sounding a lot like this ---
"Get dressed! "
"Eat your breakfast! "
"If you are finished with your business, GET OFF THE TOILET!!! "
(Seriously, I said this out loud just this morning...)
Now, I know how ineffective this is - and yet, it's so easy to find myself here.
And the funny thing is, my kids don't move any quicker, they just feel bad.
So what I have been trying to keep in mind lately is the power of connecting with them in the morning before the school bus comes. When they feel as though I see them, really see them, they are more responsible and responsive to the morning routines. When I slow down, they relax and end up moving along.
I have an 8 o'clock alarm on my phone that says, "leave them with love."
This is a powerful reminder to me that I am sending them off to spend the day without me. I want them to feel my love and encouragement throughout the day. Even when I feel a little bit (ha) tense or irritated in the morning, this timely alarm gently guides me to wrap my arms around these young people, hold them, and tell them I love them.
I feel the same way about connecting with the kids before bed. We have a pretty regular bedtime routine. Jammies on and upstairs by 7:15 if they want to play a game, 7:30 or so is my son's time to read to us, then we have a novel that my husband or I read aloud till about 8:30. After that, the kids go to their beds and we spend 10 minutes with them, one on one.
This 10 minutes is magical.
This is when I hear about fears or confessions. Sometimes I prompt the conversation by asking them to tell me about a time they felt proud, nervous, brave or thankful that day. I love the answers I get from these questions. I feel our relationship strengthen, their trust in me, themselves and the world around them grow. I am so grateful we have this special time together each day...
When I leave their room each night I am smiling... Not thinking "YES! They are finally in bed," (well, ok, that does enter my mind sometimes...) but rather, "damn, I have the best kids." The mistakes I may or may not have made throughout the day with them feel smaller, the self talk more positive.
I feel such a strong connection and gratitude for these little people.
And what a lovely model we become for what relationship looks like. Also, I notice that when I feel connection and gratitude for my kids, I am more thoughtful in my parenting, likelier to stay centered and connected to my values. And this is when I am my best self :).