Do you feel busy? Haha, okay just kidding. Of course you do! If you’re a mom of young kids, I’m not sure there’s any other way to be! EVEN if the commitments on your calendar are not overwhelming, just being responsible for all the things involving the little people who call you “mommy” makes life busy! Is it even possible to still be peaceful and emotionally present in the midst of it all? Yes. Stick with me as we chat about some keys to emotionally engaging children in the midst of busy mom life.
But before we go further… Do you struggle to slow down and learn how to really rest? Join the free 7 days of rest e-mail challenge!
Peaceful and present: Keys to Emotionally Engaging Children in the Midst of Busy Mom Life
Why is it that I love my children SO MUCH but it’s SO HARD to sit down and play pretend with them? Why is it so much easier to prioritize dishes, laundry, paying bills, working, and just about anything else over sitting on the floor and spending time making eye contact and laughing with my children?
I think it’s because I like success.
I like to cross a task off my list.
I like to start with a job, and be able to look back and see that I accomplished something by the time I’m done with it.
I like to see a visible difference by the time I’m done with something.
I get that satisfaction with household tasks and with work, but I don’t get that satisfaction with the things that matter most.
The reality is that things like creating emotionally healthy kids, developing a closer walk with God, working on personal growth, or creating a healthy and physically fit body don’t happen overnight. They take a lot of time before you see any results from your labor. And sometimes the changes are so small and happen over such a long period of time that you don’t even realize them.
It is so much easier to devote time to the more pressing needs that we see immediate results from, than it is to devote large amounts of time to things that don’t give us those immediate results. To make matters worse, when we are devoting time to the unseen things, sometimes the seen things fall apart some and make it look like we’ve done nothing all day!
Jesus prioritized emotional presence and engagement.
The story of Mary and Martha teaches me so much about how Jesus values being present.
While they were traveling, he entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.”The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things,but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
So Mary threw the “to do” list out the window and just sat at Jesus’ feet. It says “But Martha was distracted by her many tasks…”
Oh how often does that describe me? Distracted by my many tasks.
Not only is she distracted – she’s upset.
She’s filled with righteous indignation about her sister who’s not pulling her fair share of the weight.
I can just see her walking around the house in a huff, rehearsing her argument in her head. Then she goes before Jesus to point out how inconsiderate her sister is being in letting her do all of the work by herself and instead Jesus calls her out.
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Ouch. That stings. Not only did Jesus not back her, but he actually told her that MARY was the one who had it right and SHE was the one who had it backwards!
I love that because I identify so much with Martha. Worried and upset about many things.
But Mary knew how to just sit and be present.
Need a step-by-step guide for learning how to sit and be unhurried with Jesus in this busy season of mom life? Check out the 7 Days of Rest e-mail challenge! Register below!
Physical presence is not the same as emotional presence.
Although this sounds kind of obvious, I feel like it’s one of those truths that needs to be repeated from time to time.
Physical presence DOES NOT = emotional presence
I know I’m not the only one that has a tendency to prioritize meeting my children’s physical needs over their emotional needs.
The physical needs are just so much more… obvious.
And honestly, sometimes they’re easier to meet.
Meeting emotional needs takes slowing down.
It takes stopping the multi-tasking train and practicing single tasking.
It takes eye contact.
It takes un-rushed time together.
It takes being present long enough to SEE the need, and having the emotional and mental reserves to be able to discern how to best MEET the need.
Stop measuring the success of a day by the wrong standards…
You need to hear this:
Your success isn’t defined by the quality of the meals you prepared.
Your success isn’t measured by the amount of housework you got done.
Your success isn’t measured by the places you took them or the books you read them.
It’s okay if the dishes pile up sometimes and it’s okay if the laundry never gets folded.
Jesus is calling us to sit and be unhurried before Him. To listen without rushing off to the next task.
I think He’s pleased when we do the same with our children as well – to slow down, sit on the floor with them, and make eye contact. To engage with them without rushing to the next task. To be unhurried and present.
So how do we actually do that?
Keys to Emotionally Engaging Children in the Midst of Busy Mom Life:
Start with your heart in the right position. Even if you can only snag five or ten minutes in the morning, spend time in prayer and in scripture.
Intentionally place a higher priority on the things that matter most but don’t yield immediate results – then plan your day around that.
Spend a few minutes in the morning, a few minutes after nap or school, and a few minutes before bed intentionally engaging with your children. Turn off all the screens – including yours. Make eye contact. Lay on the floor with them. Have absolutely no agenda for the moment, and see where it goes.
At the end of the day when you’re tempted to look at the things that didn’t get done, make a list of the good things that you did do.
When my kids are grown…
When my kids are grown I want them to remember that I always had time for them.
I want them to remember that I was approachable and not rushing around the house so fast that they couldn’t catch up with me long enough for a conversation.
I want them to remember me getting up before the sun to sit at the feet of the Lord and gain strength for the day.
I want them to remember me apologizing to them when I’m in the wrong.
I want them to remember me teaching them Bible verses and reading to them.
I want them to remember me laughing with them.
I want them to remember that we had fun together –not just that I created opportunities for them to have fun while I was a spectator on the side.
No one is perfect, and I know that they won’t remember every little mistake I make as much as they’ll remember how valuable I made them feel overall.
So, what about you? Will you join me in making it a goal of being unhurried and present with our children today?
P.S. Before you go…
If this post has resonated with you, but you need some help and encouragement learning how to slow down and be unhurried with your Heavenly father, make sure you join the 7 Days of Rest e-mail challenge below!