By Zenitra, The Working Mom
I returned home after a long weekend away just in time to clock into my second job. The one where even if I’m off the first job, the absence of a refined of a vacation policy makes taking time off pretty difficult. It was mom time and afterschool pickup had no respect for my need to ease back into the job. The clock was on. Getting kids from two different schools before having to pay for late arrival was nipping at my heels with every passing red light, Sunday driver, and slow walking pedestrian. With no time to spare, each kid was secured and strapped into their seat belt and I was able to keep a little bit more of my money in my pocket.
After grabbing dinner and bringing it home to eat, we made it to the house still on track to eat, do homework, take their baths and get them to bed ALL ON SCHEDULE! As I watched the kids eat their dinner, I sat there feeling proud of myself because “on schedule” is hard to come by. And just as quickly as I had that thought, the universe laughed. Instead of grabbing his bookbag so that we can begin his homework on time, my son instead decided to run to the back of the house and into my bedroom with his sister in tow. My screams of “Please come back so we can do your homework.” was meet with a laughter so sweet I thought to my own self, did I just tell a joke? Of course I didn’t. There was no time jokes on the schedule.
Making my way to the back in full on enforcer mode, I had no idea what was waiting for me. Both of my children were jumping up and down on my bed, smiling and laughing so hard that I had to just stop and take in the joy of seeing my children happy – ruining my schedule, but happy nonetheless. At that moment, I channeled the surrender required of Aretha Franklin’s funeral showrunner and said to hell with the schedule. Let’s play this thing by ear tonight.
I joined in the fun, tackling both of my children to the bed. I held each of them down and smothered them with kisses as they roared with laughter. Each time I stopped they would scream “MORE! MORE!”, and the game would begin all over again. That night, we never made it to homework and bath time would be pushed off until the morning, and it was worth every bit of stress that would come because of it.
The beauty of this moment extends far beyond one night. Every night at bedtime or at random intervals of the day, my son will say “I want MORE!” with a sly smile. I match his expression and reply with “Okay!” before he takes off to the back to play what I believe to be his favorite game.
I often think about the moments just before I entered the room that night and how I was dead set on sticking to my schedule. This was a simple, but impactful lesson in knowing that sometimes, you just gotta let it go! Let go of the schedule, let go of the rules, let go of the expectations, and just go with the flow. Find those moments of pure joy and breathe them in as if it’s your last breath. Then find as many ways as possible to relive that high over and over again.
This game has been holding strong for three weeks in my house. I don’t know how long it’ll be around, but when my kids are ready to change the schedule again, I promise to night fight it AS MUCH the next time! We’re headed into Manhattan tomorrow to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade from my office which sits along the route right on 6th Avenue. I’ve scheduled this outing twice before and cancelled it as many times at the thought of fighting my kids to get up and out of the house by 7AM on a non-school day is never appealing. Whether we make it in or not, I am most thankful for the moments large and small that I get to see a smile wrapped around my kid’s face. I wish the same for you and yours this holiday season.