The importance of being there
By Sherie Holder-Olutayo | Mon, May 14, 2012 - 12:00 AM
IN PAST YEARS, I’ve resolved to get better at managing my finances (yikes, still a work in progress); and hitting the gym and get this body back into some semblance of my pre-motherhood shape (I know it seems like a long shot but a girl can dream.)
But now that Mother’s Day is here, I also looked seriously at my parenting skills and mummy moments as well. While I would love to give myself an A++, I’m afraid I have fallen short of the mark.
It’s not that I’m being hard on myself; it’s just that I’m being honest. In terms of spending quality time with my two sons, I don’t feel like – no, I know I don’t do enough of that. Call it the plight of the working mother, especially those whose jobs are like mine that demand long hours along with working on holidays as well. Given that little dilemma, it’s easy to understand why the family fun time is definitely lacking.
But it didn’t only take a lot of soul-searching to get me to this point. It also took a little pathological truth-telling from my husband and my sons. You know things have reached a critical stage when they’re all telling you that you have to spend more time with your children.
I suppose every working mother goes through this heart-rending guilt fest from time to time. But I’m realizing that as the boys are getting older, I have to be more hands-on. There is the homework factor, helping them to develop good homework and study habits, and with my youngest, getting him to approach his schoolwork with the same zest and enthusiasm as a conversation about Megatron and Ironman. So he’s a little preoccupied with the superhero thing, but we’re working on that.
When my sisters and brother and I were growing up, my mother was a stay-at-home mum during those early years. I didn’t realize it then, but having her there at home when we came home from school meant a lot, and did a lot for us.
But I’ve also come to appreciate my mum more now because she is there standing in the gap when I can’t be around, and in some ways pulling double duty again. The boys love being with their “Mama” too, but it’s important that they spend time with me giving them their baths, reading with them and talking with them about their day until they fall asleep.
Recently, I realized how tall they both are, and they are getting taller every day. It made me realize how quickly time is going by, because it seemed like only yesterday they were babies. People comment about quickly they grow up but now I’m starting to see it. They are becoming their own little people, complete with their own personalities, which we have to work on, I might add, but it’s great to see them coming into their own.
I suppose I really don’t want to miss out on being there. So that’s my goal: to be there more – rolling around in the dirt, present in their activities, playing with them, actually going to family outings and making it a foursome instead of a threesome. I suppose for me it simply means being there.
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