As a self confessed workaholic, I admit that I had mixed feelings about the consecutive long weekend holidays throughout the month of August. While I enjoyed the guilt-free time with the family, I also felt that my working rhythm was thrown off and that I could not squeeze enough productivity out of the days I was on work mode. As a mompreneur with a part time arrangement at an office, work is never left at the office because my office is wherever my laptop or mobile phone is. This means that I am capable of working 24/7 if I wanted to.
And this is why I am grateful for my children. Because life is not about work, and I learn this lesson from them the most. They who spend their days at play and in awe of their surroundings. Being intentional about learning from children is very enlightening! Here are some lessons I learned during my extra time with them during the series of long weekends.
1. Life is not about work. Feeling antsy about not checking my phone when I was around my family (my husband and I have made it a rule that we put our phones away when we are with the kids) clued me in on what my current values are. I needed to ask myself, when I die…what would I rather be remembered as? A woman with many achievements or as a good mother? While it doesn’t necessarily need to be one or the other, it should guide the decisions I make throughout my day. Life is not about work. I can lose my business or lose my job, and I will move on. If something happens to any of my children, that will definitely be a different story. I need to make each moment count.
2. Schedules are not everything. As a woman who plans her days to the hour, adjusting my own schedule to those of my children was a definite adjustment. My toddlers are so spontaneous and unpredictable. A task that could take 2 minutes could extend into an hour depending on their moods. And going with their flow taught me that maybe efficiency isn’t everything….especially if it means taking the time to teach them something new, or just soaking up their curiosity and excitement for the ordinary.
3. When you are giving children your undivided attention, they blossom. As a multi-tasker, I admit that it takes a conscious effort for me not to multi task my kids. When they were babies, it was a lot easier to work around them because they either slept a lot or did not have the ability to climb on top of me while I was typing on my laptop. As toddlers, this dream arrangement is no longer possible and when I spend time with them, I am incapable of doing anything else. And thank God for that! Because I noticed that when I give my children my undivided attention, they eat it up and blossom. It is as though my attention becomes sunlight and they are seeds on fertile ground. Listening to them speak, watching them explore, and answering their questions is a truly beautiful experience….and I know for a fact that it is my love and attention that will help them to grow into the people they are meant to be.
And thus as I write this, I work from home and glance at the clock. I have 15 minutes to wrap this article up before I take my children out to play. I’m going to leave my phone behind and make my limited time with them count—because they days are long and the years are short they say. I’m going to put my watch in my pocket, and swear to check it just once to make sure they have their dinner on time. And I’m going to give them my undivided attention, during these hours of the day I have carved out just for them. Work can resume later. This must come first.