"Mom. You done working. Come play with me."
My daughter spoke these words as she grabbed the screen of my laptop and closed it. Ordinarily I would remind her that she's not to touch my computer. Or I might tell her, "Honey, I'll be done in five minutes and then I'll come hang out with you."
But this time her words penetrated through skin and bones and pierced my heart and made a gaping hole of guilt and sadness.
I have not been spending enough time with my children lately.
I've been trying to escape from them.
My form of escape is social media or reading things on the Internet. As a writer, social media is important to building one's audience, so I lie to myself and say, "I need to be on Facebook right now engaging with my readers. I need to be tweeting something to gain more followers. I need to be reading up on the best way to gain traffic through Pinterest. This is work. I'm not avoiding my kids. I'm simply trying to find a way to work while being a stay-at-home mom. I'm doing the best I can."
While some of that is true -- the need to learn and engage and grow -- recently it's simply been my way to escape from them.
And the awful part is that I'm not even trying to escape from the difficulties of motherhood or the overwhelming feeling of life in general.
No, I'm ashamed to admit what I've been trying to run away from, but I must get it out.
I've been trying to escape from my kids because... well... sometimes they're boring.
It's the mundane, the monotony, I've been attempting to flee from.
My kids are great. They are bright and funny and adorable. But as a stay-at-home mom I can only handle playing with cars or doing puzzles or building forts for so long. These past few weeks it just feels like the same thing day in and day out and I want to escape from it so badly.
So I get on my phone or my laptop and I essentially avoid interacting with my kids. I get a high from social media or reading an interesting article that I'm not getting from my kids when I color with them. I get a rush of adrenaline when I see I gained some more Facebook fans or someone somewhere published one of my articles, and I can't get that rush from singing "Ring Around the Rosie" for the 71st time that day.
It's sad. I admit it.
But the monotony is so damn hard and it's so damn easy to just avoid it. But in avoiding it, I'm avoiding my children.
I'm avoiding my daughter, who had to come into my room and pleaded with me to go play with her. I've been avoiding my son, who just wants me to roll a ball with him or play with blocks. I've been ignoring them as people and it absolutely breaks my heart.
The monotony is difficult and it's a battle I never knew I wold have to fight. I never thought about how I would handle the boring days of parenthood. Those first few months with a newborn when everything is new and different and your world is flipped upside down... during those days you don't think that one day you will find your children's activities to be a dull, dry bore.
So I have to fight. I have to push through. I have to force myself to put my stupid phone down, leave my laptop off and engage with my kids. It doesn't matter how I feel about it. What matters is the fact my kids need a mom who is with them, who is present, who is in the moment, and, even if I have to fake it, wants to play in their room with them. A mom who tickles them and reads them the same story over and over again. A mom who interacts with her kids as often as she can.
This is so important because my kids need to know I not only love them, but I like them. If they don't feel they're getting enough attention from me, enough affection, enough engagement, I imagine that can be potentially detrimental to our relationship.
Thus I am taking up my sword and I am going to fight through the mundane. I'm going to stop trying to escape, take a deep breath, and accept the fact that where I am right now is not where I will always be. I will remind myself as often as necessary that this is a season and it will get better.
I have to stop making feeble attempts to escape. My kids are smart enough to know when I'm doing it and thank God they're strong-willed enough to tell me to knock it off, get off my computer, and go play with them