It had been three nights in a row that I gave a long “lecture” to Em right before bedtime, the time when it should be warm and sweet, snuggling each other and praying together. After the “lecture”, we were often exhausted and depressed. As I carried all the weight in my heart, closing the bedroom door behind me, I thought to myself, I have all the intentions to be tender and loving, but in reality, I also need to be a responsible mom and point out the sickness in their heart. Where is the balance?
I don’t really have the answer.
A few years back, when Em was still four years old, I was pregnant with Noe, working as an NIH fellow, and pursuing a master degree at the same time. My life was so full and balance didn’t even exist in my dictionary. I loved my children but motherhood wasn’t my priority at all. Until Noe was born, I somehow decided to give up everything, ignore the criticisms from dear friends and families, and just stay home.
At first I thought I had so much freedom and time now, but very quickly, I let other people fill up my schedule as I said “Yes” to overcommitments. Even though some were good ones, I simply couldn’t do it all. This past year I have learned that instead of chasing after the illusion of balance and perfection, I will fix my eyes on purpose and set my priority right. I have to say “No” to others and myself, in order to love my family well.
I’m still imperfect in many ways, an ongoing work-in-progress.
But whenever my children have behavioral “problems”, I know that the problem is actually me. I probably have lost my grip and haven’t spent enough quality time with them. So the last few days I had to put aside a lot of things in order to spend my afternoons with Em and Noe. We enjoyed snacks together, we read aloud, we painted, we joked, we giggled, we made art with chalks on our driveway…
Last night as we shared our secrets before bedtime,
Noe said with a shy and sweet smile, “I love spending time with Em.”
Em whispered to me, “Mom, when you spend time with me, my heart melts.”
When it was my turn to speak, my eyes just flooded with warm tears.
As I closed their bedroom door, I thought to myself, that sweet moment, will take a residency in my heart FOREVER!
“I have also come to believe that motherhood, while demanding, is one of the most fulfilling and meaningful roles a woman can fill.” – Sally Clarkson