A Friend Recommended This Great Way To Connect with My Kids and it has Changed our Relationship
A month or so ago I was out with my original Mothers group.
We met almost 5 years ago when our first children were born at a Queensland Health facilitated mothers group. We met weekly at our local health centre for three weeks and when the three weeks were up I was desperate for us to keep meeting up. I volunteered to set up a Facebook group (this was back when groups were a new thing and still difficult to set up) and stayed up till after midnight trying to figure out how to do it so that we could all keep in touch.
What a great support they have been over that time. Any question any of us have needed answering could be posted and responded to in within a matter of hours. You never felt like you were alone and in those first months we met up weekly or fortnightly to connect. I would have met up with them everyday if I had my way to be honest.
You could say that the foundations for Mums of Brisbane were forged through this experience and these connections.
Anyway, one of us was having a ‘significant’ birthday and quite a few of us had managed to get out of the dinner/bedtime craziness and we were at a lovely, trendy restaurant in the city, where the food was amazing, the music was loud and the cocktails were out of this world.
Apparently we also asked a very attractive bachelorette finalist to take a group photo for us #awkward.
Naturally we started talking about our children.
Almost all of them were going through a ‘challenging’ period. Our sons were starting to ignore us, get emotional or be really really rough.
Our daughters were giving us attitude, also getting really emotional over little things and we were finding ourselves in new and uncharted territory once again.
Our talk turned to behaviour management strategies along with some (needed) venting and sharing of parenting stories. We laughed at some of the more ridiculous situations we have found ourselves in with our children (like explaining the difference between a vagina and a bottom) to the cute things our kids had done that melted our hearts.
As always we agonised over whether or not we were doing motherhood ‘right’. Were we working too much or too little? Were we yelling too much? Was it wrong to count down the hours till bedtime every day? How early was too early for wine?
These ladies have always been a great support over the years and I respect all of their advice, even if sometimes it isn’t for me.
We were commiserating and celebrating, there had been lots of laughing and a few tears as well. When all of a sudden Michelle, often the wisest and most ‘together’ mum of us all leaned across the table and said:
‘I think the most important thing you can do is take some time each day to delight in your children‘
Delight in your children
So simple. Delight in your children. Something clicked immediately upon hearing those words.
I get it, keeping your cool with young kids is hard. If you have kids, especially young kids, you are in the trenches or parenthood. Sometimes s**t is going to get real and it is all going to go downhill.
If we can take some time each day, no matter what type of day it has been, to delight in our children it makes all the difference.
It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Great, you’re thinking, that all sounds great. But little Johnny has yelled at me 50 times today and I can’t hold it together any longer.
Honestly, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Delighting in your children can be as simple as catching their eye from across the room and smiling, really smiling at them. It can be a quick cuddle and kiss on the cheek, it can be getting down to their level and telling a ridiculous knock knock joke.
You know your kids the best, you know what sort of interaction will make them light up.
None of these things will take much time at all, even on the busiest of days you can find a way to slot this in.
I started ‘delighting in my children’ the very next day, looking for and finding small ways to connect with them.
I sang a song to my 10 month old and looked into his eyes the whole time, my whole focus was on him – He lit up.
I picked up my 4 year old and we rubbed noses and smiled at each other – She lit up.
I chased my 2 year old around the backyard playing ‘Lion Guard’ and then played our game of ‘guess what’ (Me: Guess what? I love you. Him: Guess What? Nothing) which he loves, while cuddling on the grass – He lit up.
Try to do something everyday
Everyday I have tried to take some time to delight in them and it really has improved our relationship. Sometimes it is ‘delighting’ in them the same way, and that’s OK because we are developing rituals and routines for loving each other.
Sometimes it is a spontaneous new thing that allows me to delight in them, and that is OK too.
Sometimes it is hard to find any delight at all and I have to work hard to create it. But it is always, always worth it.
I challenge you to find a way to delight in your children today. Right now, right this second. Stop reading, go find them, and do something delightful and unexpected.
I promise you wont regret it.
Katie is the Editor of Mums of Brisbane. She loves reading, sleep and exploring, not necessarily in that order. Most days will find her drinking coffee, trying to keep up with the kids, and praying they will sleep. She lives with her husband and three children in beautiful Brisbane.