My freelance commitments have sort of been taking over my life for the past several weeks. (Very much not what I envisioned when I decided to stay home and take care of my kids rather than hire someone else to do it.) In recent days, to get everything done by deadline I’ve resorted to working mornings several days per week as my four-year-old is left to entertain himself.
Some independent play is good, but he already has scheduled quiet time from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. each day. So he’s been sharpening a lot of pencils, drawing more than ever and hovering nearby, adding to my guilt with questions like, “Mom when will you read me a book?” and “Can you be done now?” I do allow him to interrupt me from time to time. But I’ve found myself frustrated for seeing my son’s requests as interruptions.
One recent day, after I’d crossed some big tasks off my to-do list, my son and I took a walk. We wandered through the cemetery near our home with no agenda beyond enjoying the sunshine and being together.
As we turned to retrace our steps toward home, two Canadian geese flew overhead. We stopped to watch them flap their powerful wings. “Coo-ool” my son said. Then, “Activate Canadian goose power!” He extended his arms and started flapping them as if they were wings. I smiled to myself. Why do we lose the wonder of experiencing the world with four-year-old eyes? What a blessing it is to have someone remind me of the joy and beauty in this world, and to point out what I’m missing. In a blink of an eye we’ll be sending this boy to school and I can work for a seven-hour block without interruptions. I will miss moments like these. And I’ll miss our Friday mornings at the library together. And I’ll miss… the interruptions.
My husband showed me a page from his textbook about the African view of time: “Time is not a monetary commodity but an experience to be shared with others.”
So even when I come across articles that suggest things like it doesn’t matter how much time parents spend with their children, I’m still planning to better guard my time with my family. Not only because I question the research, but also because those experiences shared with others bring a lot more richness to life than a slightly bigger pay check ever could.