The Greatest Gift – December 19, 2019

As a working mom of four kids, there is no choice but to be a multitasker. Like many other parents, I juggle my job and the many details required to successfully parent. Two of my children are adults now and self-sufficient, which has afforded me a little more time to raise their younger brothers with a fresh set of eyes.

If I could go back in time and start with a clean slate, it would be with a more mindful approach to parenting. I didn’t know about, or have an appreciation for, bucket filling when my children were very little. When I think of all the times I raised my voice in anger, rushed my children out the door to the bus stop, or gave a critical review of a report card, I regret that I didn’t recognize that, most often, these moments of frustration were more a reflection of my less-than-full bucket than any action my children made. A bucketfilling parent does their best to pause before they speak and is more mindful with the words that they choose.

Multi-tasking, while parenting, tends to remove the clarity and calm from many moments, good or bad. We often don’t even realize it until the moment has passed. If I had approached each day with a grateful spirit and counted the many blessings I had, then my to-do list wouldn’t have seemed so overwhelming. I would have seen that yelling was counter-productive, missing the bus was inconsequential, and going to school with a full stomach was healthier. Treating others with kindness is far more important than a grade on report card.

As parents, we wear far too many hats. Looking back, I now know there were many moments I could have turned off the TV while my child was talking to me. I could have put my phone down and offered more help with homework instead of yelling a suggestion across the room. I could have taken that extra 5 minutes to read just one more bedtime story. My phone can wait. The dirty dishes and laundry can wait. But my children are precious and these moments are growing fewer. By being “present” with them, I am impressing upon them that they matter to me and that they deserve my attention. It’s the greatest gift you can give them.

– Sandy

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