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Learning to Grow Together

Learning to Grow Together - Columbia SC Moms Blog

There are rare mornings when it feels possible to take on the world before breakfast, but most days I feel that I’ll be collecting Social Security {if it still exists} before I can get to everything that needs to be done.

Then there’s the matter of enriching experiences. These are the extras that we only participate in when we have time. These are the involvements that come after the laundry, chauffeuring, dishes and toilet cleaning. They are the passions which we immerse ourselves in once in a great while, IF we have enough energy after directing kids, meeting deadlines, preparing meals and commuting in traffic. On occasion, we allow ourselves a little taste of these interests that we miss in our day-to-day shuffles and {because zoning out requires little energy} we daydream about a life that includes more inspiration.

As most parents have, I’ve gone days without doing anything for myself except for eating {and even that may have been with a toddler fork.}

Forks

I’ve blown my nose with a used dryer sheet because I didn’t bother to replace the empty tissue box next to my bed and well, it was late and there was a dryer sheet in my pocket.

I’ve cultivated a love/hate relationship with pajamas because as a stay at home mom, sometimes I love that I can get away with wearing pajamas all day and sometimes I hate them for the same reason. I have asked my son to use his words at times when I’ve allowed myself to be drained to such a state-of-tired that I have barely been able to form my own sentences.

I’ve had plenty of moments of frustration because as woman who doesn’t work outside of the home, I had myself convinced that I should be able to achieve everything perfectly, within our home. I give working parents who don’t have a personal staff AN IMMENSE AMOUNT OF CREDIT.

I was a woman who used to measure her self-worth in the number of projects completed and to-do’s tacked off long, never-ending lists. I’m evolving into a woman who {with patience} intentionally focuses on the way I accomplish things.

If you are a mom who is inclined to wear a neon sign reading “Type A” – then this would be as challenging for you as it has been for me.

It’s an acquired ability that I credit my son, almost entirely, with adding to my skill set. Robot-mode was more than a habit I’d developed; it was a way of life. I was oblivious until Tim’s wide, expectant eyes watching my every move permitted me a serious look at myself. I am determined to nurture my son’s sense of self and beginning with my own example has seemed like a solid start.

The parenting journey is full of abstract progress.

Of course there are exciting milestones, but mostly we go along growing our kids without noticing how much they are changing from day to day and more importantly, how much of our attitude they are absorbing. I want my little boy to grow up to be a man who appreciates responsibilities and finds fulfillment in his endeavors. I want him to remember seeing his mom do all {or realistically most all} things in love. Because really, what good is accomplishing anything if we’ve sold out on joy in the process?

I decided to teach my son about responsibilities in the most practical manner. I started giving Tim more {age-appropriate} tasks that help contribute to the running of the house. He is enthusiastic about sweeping, setting the table, helping to fold laundry and vacuum attachments. He helps us collect sticks for kindling, puts away his yard toys and is always willing to water anything that needs to be watered with the hose. On a recent, sunny day he was totally amped to help pressure wash our muddy fence. He always wants to help me prep soft fruits and vegetables for fruit salads and stir-frys by washing and cutting produce with a toddler knife. He keeps a running {picture} grocery list and instead of a free ride {in the cart} at the store, he helps find the items we need. We play fun clean up games to keep the house from looking like a toddler tornado just hit. His favorite, I like to call “For three!” in which we toss anything that’s not fragile into its appropriate bin.

Tim CAmera

A few of the other chores that we do side-by-side are feeding our dogs, making the beds, getting the mail and wheeling the trash and recycling bins down and up from the curb, each week. He continues to improve at each task and most importantly, he’s happy when he’s helping. He is confident and rarely frustrated.

When you’re two and a half years old, it’s so much more fun to have your parents show you how to do something than it is to hear them say, “Hold on a minute, while I do this.”

In resisting the urge to compartmentalize my life, Tim and I are working together AND sharing many more interests. It seems that he accepts my parenting style as less an imposition and more a welcome introduction to some of the world’s wonders. This is how I {hope that I} am effectively teaching Tim about priorities.

I thought about what I wanted more of in my life and actually added it to OUR days.

We started taking a music class {with a focus on playing piano and guitar}; we read our Bibles together, exercise, adventure to new places for the sake of photography, take trips to the Carolina Wild Life Center, visit with animals waiting to find forever homes, we paint and are attempting to learn Italian.

We’re not necessarily achieving measurable results with these endeavors, nor is that my intention. Rather we’re strengthening an intangible capacity within ourselves that deserves attention.

When Tim and I work together, we also have more time to have a blast together. I’m finding that during Tim’s naps I have time to pay bills, make calls, deep clean, write, shower {and enjoy getting dressed.} I’m not feeling stressed that there are other things that trump taking care of myself, to be done. I’m feeling great because even though the Mom slice is the sweetest piece of the pie, I’m not neglecting the other parts that make up the whole Victoria.

There is an inspiring effect when children get to see their parents living in a fulfilled way, putting their talents to use.

My husband who specializes in nuclear power plants, enjoys working full-time outside of the home. He shares his love for all things engineering and architecture, especially on the weekends. Tim is familiar with all the kid-friendly tools in the garage and they are already talking about the Mustang they’ll rebuild, someday. They can often be found on Saturdays, performing repairs and installing upgrades around the house. I can’t wait to see, as our son gets older, which passions he’ll prioritize incorporating into his life. I hope he’ll find plenty of rad stuff to introduce to me and his Dad.

I want Tim to know that sometimes it is perfectly acceptable, if not totally necessary, to have a jam session on mom and Tim-sized guitars while there is a pile of laundry {now under the dog}, a phone call that should be returned, a sink full of dishes and an appointment scheduled, in 20 minutes.

Guitars

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One Response to Learning to Grow Together

  1. Cindy Fric April 11, 2016 at 9:20 am #

    Excellent blog Victoria. Tim is one phenomenally child. Looking G forward to reading more!

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