Thursday, October 16, 2008

I am not a Sitter

When I say I am not a "sitter" I don't mean like "babysitter," I mean like "one who sits." Not only do I always have much, much, much to do, when I find myself with (quite suddenly and shockingly) nothing to do, I go on a desperate search for something to busy me up.

It is a very intentional thing I have to force myself to do when I sit and watch my kids play. And it is even a very forced thing to me when I "play with" my kids. I mean, I read to them and hug them, and teach them, and talk with them and interact with them on all sorts of levels, but I don't often sit and run the cars over the carpet, or stack the blocks, or build the train tracks.

I have marvelled numerous times at how GOOD the woman who takes care of my kids while I work is at playing with my kids. She thoroughly enjoys getting down on the ground and pushing those cars. The woman reached sainthood, as far as I am concerned, when she played Monopoly with my four-year-old who, by the way, understands nothing about money or property or purchases or anything much beyond moving pieces around a board and taking turns at a game. And little Jackson's eyes light up with delight at the notion of playing another round of the never-ending-game-that-he-doesn't-even-understand.

A part of me knows that I am not alone in this: that plenty of moms stink at that part of mothering. And the other part of me wishes that I could be excellent at everything mommy-related to all my kids. I can't, of course. None of us can be everything to every child we bear. We can try and do the things that do not come naturally to us - we must try. We are never excused from doing "the hard work of mothering," but I think it is also worth noting that we are not designed to meet every need our children have and that living in the context of the body of Christ means we can feel the freedom to search out others to come alongside us and help get those needs more fully met. And we can do this without feeling guilty or like a failure.

Librarians, teachers, coaches, grandmas, nannies, aunts, counselors, pastors, friends. No particular order of importance in that list. It is just good to recognize our limitations and our children's needs and seek out others to help. I hope there is some level of encouragement here for you.


Jon and Erin said...

Thanks for that Jenne. I was just thinking today about how much fun Noah has with my Mom who gets on the floor and plays with him for hours. I try to intentionally do that too but I often find myself doing other good mommy things (laundry, dishes, cooking etc.)I'm so glad my mom is around to do that with him! A bit of child counseling never hurt anyone either. Thank you God for my Mom!

Pate Family said...

One of the main reasons I had more than one child is so they could play with each other. If I'm ever in some prisoner of war camp all they would have to do to get me to tell everything I've ever known is make me play house with a small child. That my friend is torture.

Megan said...

Those of us who are 'sit and players' have a different set of problems. :)

Ginger@chirgies said...

I know I struggle with that 'sitting' because in my mind, it's not "accomplishing" anything on my long list of 'things to do today'. I want to train the kids to work WITH me. With 4 kiddos i just don't have as much down-time to sit and color together and play playdough and... My goal has been to incorporate them into my world (maybe a farm life mentality?) But then I struggle with not wanting them to resent Mean-'ol-Mommy who "always makes us put the silverware away and set the table, and put our laundry away when we'd rather be playing." *sigh* I suppose there is a happy medium in there. And the times I do sit and color I know it speaks volumes, especially to A., how much I love her. Thanks for getting me thinking and re-evaluating. :)
btw - I wish you could have been there this weekend! We needed your wisdom in solving problems!