A friend shared this article ‘The Day My Son Gave Up on Me‘ from HuffingtonPost and it turned up on my Facebook feed. I think it’s by no sheer coincidence that God is using social media to convict me.
Every evening, after dinner and the cursory piano practices, I would be in a haste to start Dana on her bedtime routine and shoo her to bed. Sometimes I would accede to her request for a bedtime story grudgingly (“short one please, Mommy is tired”), because I have 1001 things that need my attention. Gradually, I’ve delegated the task of tucking her into bed ENTIRELY to Daddy who has more patience and a clearer head than me but is also 10 times more physically exhausted than I am.
Granted, all these ‘excuses’ are valid: Children need to sleep early so their immunity won’t be compromised. Without an early night’s rest, I have to wake a grouchy kiddo the next morning (not the way I like to start my day with). So getting them to bed early is win-win right? Most importantly, it is only after the kids are asleep that I get that small pocket of precious ‘we’ time with the hubby to catch up on administrative matters (like how many tickets to order for her graduation concert and who is able to accompany the daughter on her final K2 field trip).
Sadly, the bedtime routine has degenerated into this familiar scenario: At bedtime (usually around 9pm), I will order her to finish her milk, get her teeth brushed and head straight to her room. Daddy will be reading or singing to her. When they are done, I would walk in, say a quick prayer and plant a kiss on her cheeks before I skedaddle out as fast as I can to return to what I was doing (mostly on the PC). On some nights, by the time I stepped into her room, she was already deep in slumber…I could only stand there, beholding my sleeping child’s angelic face, ridden with regret that I have relegated her to the bottom of my ‘to-do’ list. I can’t even remember the last time I cuddled her to bed…
Some people look upon us (bloggers) and think we’ve got our acts all together – blogging Mums, loving Dads, happy kids, engaging in so many interesting activities week after week. But beneath our social media postings are tantrums, heartaches, disciplinary issues and mundane routines which we plough through on daily basis. Add to that work stresses that come complete as a package for working parents. For every blog post that I churn out, it comes with an opportunity cost. I sacrificed my sleep, my time with the hubby and ashamedly, the attention my 6 year-old ask of me. Because she is independent, I fall into the tendency of brushing her off. “Mommy, can you read me this story?” “Not now, Dana, it’s late, you need to sleep!” “Mommy, can you read me a story?” “Dana, can you give Mommy a minute? I need to reply this urgent work email…” I mumbled in frustrated distraction. More often than not, that minute turned into three, four, ten, twenty minutes, and the pile of broken promises builds.
A friend rightly pointed out that the message in the article is not new but yet it hit me like a brick. Today, I stand humbled that I’ve veered off-course. I am reminded that If I don’t get my priorities right when my child still needs me, at some point in time, she will decide it wasn’t even worth the trouble to ask anymore. And with her going to P1 come January, that window period is shortening as the days pass. How blinded am I to view my children, the ones I love so dearly, and lament growing too quickly as annoying intrusions to my life? I’m asking God to forgive me and set my heart right; to make me a better Mom and restore what’s important to their rightful place in my home from today on.