My schedule is beyond full, between the day job, kids, writing, and keeping the house on a semi-decent cleaning schedule. Yet, today, I spent a good portion of my afternoon working with my five year old on her science project. I admit I probably helped more than I should have, but first, we were enjoying ourselves, and second, isn’t the best way to teach someone how to do something by sharing in the fun of it yourself?
I remember my dad helping me with projects, but my independent streak had me only asking for help where I truly needed it, and not always asking for help when I should have. It earned me a few B’s where my classmates got their parents’ help and their A’s. I can’t change the past, but I can teach my daughter.
What did I teach my daughter today? Science can be fun. Mommy can be fun. Getting help is good.
I’ll probably scale back on the next project and let her take the lead, but it made me think of something else, which prompted this post. Despite all I need to be doing, I took the extra time to be with her. To experience the fun of a science experiment. It wasn’t about the grades, and it wasn’t about simply completing a project. It was time together.
And that is why I work so hard.
I have the tools and skills to work this hard because I watched it my entire life. My moother a stay-at-home-mom with five kids; my dad frequently working two jobs to send the five of us to private school. Yet he always had time to play with us, watch TV with us (I always forgave him for falling asleep), and even if he didn’t always understand me, he spent time with me.
How you spend your time matters. It keeps you happy and healthy, it keeps the kids better grounded.
My daughter knows I work hard. She’s said it herself and frequently offers to help me with simple housework. I take her up on it when it’s something we can do together. Not because I need her to do the task for me, but because it’s building our relationship stronger. I remember feeling bad my dad was so tired, but there wasn’t anything I can do. Perhaps I’m empowering my daughter by giving her something to do.
And on a lighter note… the daughter made a comment regarding my writing. She seemed to believe my day job was writing stories, and I had to explain to her that I work my day job helping a company, and that my writing is done while she’s sleeping or watching TV, that I do it because I love it. She took it in without comment. I’m not sure if she was disappointed or confused, or just digesting the information.
I hope she understands one day what it is to love something so much, love someone so much, that you participate in their lives and complete the activity to the point of exhaustion. To me, that’s evidence of love. I hope she never has to work as hard as I am, or if she does, that she does so willingly.
We each have our own path to walk. Mine might be working hard to achieve everything I want, but I’m enjoying my path and the hills and valleys it brings into my life.