I generally think I am a good mother, not a perfect mother, but definitely a good mother. I make time for my children. I worry about their happiness. I spend time with them doing what they love whether that is baking, reading or activities. I plan play dates, parties and vacations. But I realized something this weekend that I didn’t realize before. What makes them happiest is when I am happily with them, regardless of what we happen to be doing.
Today, I had promised them a trip to the theater to watch the newest animated movie. But I really wasn’t feeling well. I had pushed myself through the weekend but just couldn’t keep my promise this afternoon. I needed to rest. After intense negotiations and some disappointed faces, we agreed we would stay home and watch a movie instead.
Ironically, that’s when the best part of the weekend happened.
We cuddled in bed and watched Annie while they ate some Easter treats. They loved it. But they love movies and treats so that wasn’t a big surprise. But at bedtime, when I asked them what the favorite part of their weekend was, they both said it was the movie. I thought about this for a while. I don’t actually think it was the movie. Yes, it is a good movie but there is nothing in particular that makes it stand out in my mind over other children’s movies. Plus, we spent the weekend reading, hanging out with friends, painting Easter eggs and shopping. Generally, all fun stuff.
I think what made the movie special was that I cuddled with them and stayed focused the whole time. No phone. No computer. No distractions. We chatted throughout the movie. We laughed at the funny bits together and at the end, we talked about some of the most interesting parts. Usually when we watch movies, I set it up and I kind of half watch it. Later they try to talk to me about what happended without much success since I was never really paying attention. I didn’t think it mattered since they were engrossed in the movie after all. But what I realized today is that it DOES matter. They notice. They don’t care what we are doing as long as they feel that I am their “partner in crime”. Me being there the whole time, without distractions, meant the world to them.
And truth be told, it was the best part of my weekend as well. I guess it really is about the quality of time not the quantity of time.
Sometimes the obvious lessons take the longest to learn.