Homework can be frustrating for parents and kids, or least it can be for my kids and me. I often find myself dreading the task at hand and avoiding it at all costs. Rarely does it end up with love and cuddles. It’s typically more along the lines of stomping and yelling about how hard this is and how I have no idea how to multiply and I simply don’t know anything! I learned something valuable today working with my 9 year old on a project involving resilience, ironically.
I thought we were set up perfectly. Just had a nice lunch, we had time to ourselves, I was completely present and focused and actually excited to get started on working together. She had a small writing project and we had a joint reading assignment we needed to complete.
It started out great actually. However, not too long into it, I noticed the patterns start to creep in. She was not fully grasping the concept and I was not explaining exactly as Mr. Rob did, therefore I didn’t know what I was talking about and she was “never going to get this done on time” and it was “everyone else’s fault for waiting till the last minute” and “this project is just stupid!”
I immediately noticed my tendency to scold, withdraw and threaten. I also noticed I was feeling a bit of pressure, as I knew we had a limited time to get this done. My mind started to drift into past experiences of homework follies and how badly they turned out and explored the possibilities of explaining to the teacher tomorrow why this wasn’t finished and feeling like an incompetent parent. And the stories go on in my mind…
Thankfully in this moment, I chose awareness. I took a moment and breathed in compassion and patience and I felt myself shifting into a more expansive place.
What was special this time? My noticing. The circumstances remained the similar, but my noticing was elevated and from this place of noticing I was awake.
When I realized we both needed a shift in thinking I acted on that. I simply suggested we get up and move around a bit and then perhaps start our reading. Then we can come back to our work on the writing. It took her a moment to agree, but this felt good to her too and so we did. Soon enough we found ourselves cuddling up on the sofa doing our reading and engaging in a fun read together. When we found ourselves getting antsy, we moved a bit, got a snack and recommitted to reading. Before I knew it we were nearly done and I was actually really engaged in the story.
In some of those moments I still noticed I would start to feel that familiar pang of anxiety. You know those non stop crazy mom thoughts like “Got to get this done already! I still have laundry, dinner, bills, work, other kids, my reading etc... to take care of!” Today I was able to nurture those thoughts and allow them without argument and best of all without acting on them. I befriended them and set them aside for I knew that truly nothing was more important than the moment I was in with my youngest daughter.
I immediately experienced deep gratitude as my nine year old put her head in my lap and listened to the story we were reading. I looked to my 12 and 15 year old teenagers engrossed in their screens hardly giving me the time of day anymore and I realized what a gift this time together truly was and how quickly these moments come to pass. Was it truly just 3 or 4 years ago they would do the same? Is that time gone forever? Will they ever ask again for me to read to them or for them to rest their head in my lap or snuggle up to me on the sofa?
What I learned about being the youngest is not that you get all the attention, it’s that your parents finally realize that all that other stuff of life is always going to be there waiting for us. But the moments on the sofa cuddling and reading together are far too fleeting and these are the MOMents we are meant to capture.
Always remember to never forget…….
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