If you keep up on my blog, you know that joy is my one word new year focus. And if you know me personally, well you know I just don’t play a lot as a mom. I am not saying I won’t ever play, I am just saying, I don’t prefer it and I try to avoid it whenever I can. I was a woman with a career, drive, and goals before I became a mom and I am still learning to balance it all through the different seasons of life.
Before you snap judge and think I’m a bad momma, I do spontaneously play. I build Legos, play Barbie Dream House, ninja train, and get the art stuff out. I play Connect 4 until I lose, set up baby tea parties, and shop at the living room store. But I don’t do it every day and I don’t stay in play mode long. Because in order for this home to run semi-efficiently and this momma to keep her sanity, I need to use the 24 hour gift in a way that benefits us all. I am fully aware of the quality time children need with parents. But I also believe in the magic that kids create while becoming bored and filling their blank space. And it is so important to model life skills of domestic engineering and time management for our kids. They don’t stay kids forever. Boo hoo.
So I’ve learned to make sure my sweet girl feels love and joy even while I am busy being a domestic goddess.
I like to have music playing as much as possible. It sets a vibe in the home. I know there are great apps and sites out there I don’t utilize, but I am a creature of habit and my Pandora account is pretty much perfect at this point in my life. I’ve got a station for every mood and singing out loud and twirling my girl as she walks by doing her thing deposits a bit of joy and love in both of our hearts.
During the high chair years, I kept V close in the kitchen after school while I cooked and cleaned. I sang the Beatles to her and clapped and pounded out beats while she smiled and laughed. I gave her cooking utensils so she could bang her highchair and we brought joy to my post-partum anxiety ridden moments.
I stop and hug Sweet V all the time. I whisper that I love her in her ear while she watches her favorite shows on the IPad. I scoop her up and we do 100 kisses right in the middle of me making dinner. (100 kisses is where I kiss her cheek 100 times in sets of 10 really quickly) It makes her laugh, fills her love bucket up while I am in make it happen mode, and she feels enough love that she is off doing what she enjoys without clinging during my busy time. And that brings me joy.
Making snacks together. Baking. Themed dinners. Popcorn movie night. Cooking for a new momma. Whatever it may be, when I include V in the happenings of food fun and then share it with her or watch her enjoy it, we’ve got joy in our home.
Sometimes I want to veg and that usually happens while I am parked on my butt scrolling through my phone when I should be working on self-care. (another story) It is also the same time that a little person wants my attention. The perfect mom in me gets off my butt to play, but let’s be real here…that is a magical moment when it happens. I take that opportunity to turn my screen into fun. We take selfies and make silly videos together. So not only am I interacting with my child in a moment I feel check out of life, I am also recording a bit of her history to cherish in the future.
And when I am in writing mode and stuck to my laptop, I send my sweet (or spicy) girl to the art cupboard for her clipboard, paper, and crayons and encourage her to share her heart to the world on paper right beside me. She sees me living out my passion, and who knows, maybe she will find a passion of her own in those moments together.
It’s taken me a
little bit whole lot of practice to balance the important work of self-care, mommyhood, and running a home in a non-burdensome way. And I will be honest that somedays, I am just too drained by life or stinky kid attitudes to make anything happen with a good attitude of my own. But in those moments I give grace to whoever needs it and usually a quick snuggle session complete with apologies and cereal for dinner is quick to follow.
There are all kinds of parents out there. If you are not the get on the floor and play type, don’t feel guilty. You can still be joy-filled and present with your family. And if you are playing too much and sacrificing the domestic priorities. Don’t feel guilty to play less. You can still be joy-filled and present with your family.
Life is good. Joy filled families are better. Keep making your house a love filled home.
High five for home!
These are just a few of my ways to keep the joy without taking time to play every day. Let us know how you add joy and happiness in your home.