Save Some for Me

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My daughter and I

Save Some For Me

I know you want to do big things, to make a difference, to be the change.
I know you pour out your heart and energy into our community.
I know you love people well.
So save some for me, Mom.

Save time for slowing down, for eye-to-eye moments, and heart-to-heart talks.
Save space to play with me, to listen to me, to hear me.
Save room for me to have needs too.
Save some for me, Mom.

You’re managing a home, cooking and cleaning and caring.
You’re working a business, earning and sharing.
You’re learning, growing and making.
Please save some for me, Mom.

Don’t run yourself ragged before you’ve chased me around.
Don’t wear yourself out before I come in the door.
Don’t tire of loving before you love me.
Save some for me, Mom.

In all you do, can I be your most important charge?
In all you do, am I a task or a delight?
In all you do, may I be a part?
Save some for me, Mom.

Keep achieving, Mom, I’m learning from you.
Keep going, Mom, I’m growing with you.
Keep resting, Mom, I find peace in you.
Just save some for me, Mom.


As I head into the new year and set my eyes on goals ahead, this has been on my heart a lot lately. Like many moms (all moms?), I’m subject to Mom Guilt. Balancing life and motherhood is difficult. I frequently have to remind myself that it’s okay for my girls to see their mother work hard and achieve other things. It’s also okay to know when to draw the line and remember that they’re my first priority.

This idea of “saving some” for my kids has been guiding my decisions lately. When I wonder if I can add in one more thing, I have to ask myself—will I be able to save space for my kids? Will this add energy to my life that I can then pour into my children, or will it drain me and leave me empty at the end of the day when they come running into my arms?

I find that my children will demand every bit of me—even when I’m home with them all day, on my hands and knees playing with them for hours on end, they’ll ask for more. It’s okay, healthy even, to show them what boundaries look like. To show them that Momma does more than just play games. But at the end of the day, I need to have saved some space for them. I need a day off where I can spend it playing. Even thirty minutes off, where I’m not worried about my to-do lists, and I can see things through their eyes again. Because the world through the eyes of a child is a beautiful thing. They are beautiful gifts. So I will save some for them.



Recovering From a Case of The Gimmes

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My daughter recently recovered from a bad case of the Gimmes. Of course, it’s like the cold, there will be different variants of it that pop up over time—particularly over the holidays—but thankfully we seem to have found a quick solution.

After a rough week of the Gimmes, my daughter came home from ballet class immediately demanding MORE. She wanted to eat out for dinner, she wanted to be entertained, she wanted someone to play with her. All this from the child who had just had a grandparent visit and gone to her weekly ballet class. That should be treat enough, right? Of course, the Give Me bug can be a nuisance to anyone, but I seem have a personal pet peeve that goes beyond normal reactions. So I was upset, more upset than I should have been, and I set out to fix it.

We talked. As any [honest] parent of a preschooler will admit, that does nothing. So we moved on to the next step and read a nice story about generosity. Also nothing.

Step three. This is where the real magic happened. In a particularly lucid moment, I grabbed a brown paper bag, a paper plate, and two green markers. I handed my daughter the paper plate and markers and told her to color a big, scary, green monster. She did her absolute best. I told her to keep adding details until we both felt it was complete. Then we glued the monstrous head onto the paper bag to make a puppet and we played two games.

The Green Monster Games:

  1. The first was a tickling game. The Green Monster would attack unsuspecting passersby, growling, “I want more!” And the only way to stop him was to name something you were thankful for. So that mean old Green Monster attacked my daughter, nibbling at her ticklish neck and growing for “More! More!” until my daughter shouted out, “I’m thankful for my dress!” And with a whine, he melted away like the wicked witch of the west.
  2. The second was reading game. We have a book of Aesop’s Fables, so we pulled it out and found the story about the goose that laid golden eggs. In short: a poor couple discovers their goose lays golden eggs and they soon become quite wealthy. But they always want more. Eventually, they cut into that goose to get all the gold at once, only to find it’s a plain goose on the inside. Throughout the story, I had my daughter hold the puppet, and any time she heard a phrase like “I want…” or “I wish…”, she was to attack the book (or me) with her puppet.

Honestly, with fun and giggles, it worked magic. She even started to think wanting or wishing was bad, so we had to backtrack a bit and tell her it was alright to want something, but we needed to stay grateful for what we have. The Green Monster got such a workout that the paper bag died before long. But since then, when she starts to catch a case of Gimmes again, we are usually able to offer a quiet reminder that “it sounds like you have the Green Monster,” and she tends to calm down.

Going into the holiday season, when they are given so much, many children begin to get the idea that they can have anything and everything they ever wanted. As Joshua Becker beautifully explains on Becoming Minimalist, “You allow them to keep looking for happiness in the next toy, the next game, the next purchase… Maybe if they were required to find happiness in the toys they already have, they just might find it.” (Quote changed slightly from “he” to “they” because hello, girl mom here.) It’s also part of the Diderot Effect. The more we have, the more we want.

So as we wrestle against the tyrants of consumerism and marketing to keep our Christmas sane and sweet, we’re probably going to need a new Green Monster to have on hand. And in the meantime, we’re focusing our November on two immune-building activities: Thanks and Giving (not just giving thanks). We’ve cleared out toys to give to others and we’re filling in our Thankful Tree every evening at dinnertime. It’s been a sweet month and I see my children growing, but I know they (and I) will continue to wrestle against the Gimmes throughout life. It’s only natural. I’ve realized my original anger at the problem was unjustified—she had simply caught a bug that we all catch from time to time. But I want to do everything I can to help my children grow a healthy immune system. Because hey, I need it too.