Monday, July 18, 2011

They Just Want to be With Me

Hello friends.
I'm back at it after a longer than anticipated hiatus.
We did get a fabulous new computer and I have been trying to find a spare minute now and then to learn my way around it, waiting for new software and learning it too, trying to make my camera work with the new computer but mostly not having much time for any of it and being OK with that.
This is a season.
But I have missed writing.
If I don't write every day it feels like something is missing.
After a while, I long for it.
Also, so many of the things that happen here every day, little and big, I want to remember.  
I miss writing those moments.
Hopefully I will continue to find my new normal as a mommy to 4 and be here more often.
Now, here's a little taste of where I'm at right now.
Davy's been here for 5 weeks, and I have to say, it's been the easiest first 5 weeks ever.
Maybe it's just because I finally know what I am doing with a newborn.
I think I've hit my stride with #4.
It all just feels very natural and easy with him.  
Nothing much phases me.
With him.

It's meeting the needs of the other 3 plus Davy that sometimes, often times, throws me for a loop.
I won't lie.
It's hard.
It seems like every time I sit down to nurse the baby, someone needs me to wipe their bottom.
Or every time I sit down to nurse the baby and read someone a book, someone needs a snack.
Or every time I sit down to finally eat my breakfast, lunch or grab a bite of something, anything, someone says, "can I have a bite of that?"
"Can you get down our race track, Mommy?"
"Can you play Crazy Eights with us, Mommy?"
"Can you make Lilly stop drawing on my paper, Mommy?"
"Davy smells stinky."
"I'm stuck in the tree!"
"Davy has spit up."
"Can you read to me?"

And sometimes, I just want to say no.
Because I want some personal space.
I don't mind crowds.  I don't get claustrophobic.  I don't need an extra seat between me and someone else at the movies.
But those things only last for a time.  
After a while, I like some space.
That's understandable right?

But I am realizing that my need for personal space and their need to be near me are at odds right now.
They want to be near me.
They long to be.
And when I push them away, it hurts.

One afternoon last week I was sitting on the couch nursing the baby.
It was the end of the day.
It was hot.  
I was sweaty and tired.
James came and sat down next to me, leaned his hot, heavy body against me, and stayed.
All I could think of at that moment was that I wanted space.
I had a baby attached to me, sucking on me, for heaven's sake!
That was more than enough.
So I said in the nicest voice I could muster, "sweetie, could you not lean on me right now?  It's so hot and I'm sweaty and the baby is sweaty and you're sweaty."
He moved.
But as he turned away from me I saw the hurt in his eyes.
And in that moment, I knew I was the most selfish of mothers.

He needed me more right then than I needed my personal space.
How many other times have I done that and been completely unaware of how much I have hurt him?  Or the others?
Who knows what door he was trying to open that I had just shut in his face.
I often feel so justified in my need for space, for time, for "just 5 minutes".
But at what cost?

It is not easy to overcome selfishness.
When Davy is, again, attached to my breast, when there is a boy on each side of me, leaning hot, sticky bodies against me, when a girl climbs under my legs and over them, all while I read a book aloud to them, I sometimes feel my skin crawl.
I know.
I feel ashamed admitting it, but it's true.
I'd like to ask them if they could just sit in the chairs across from me, if Lilly could get the heck off my legs and if they could at least wait until Davy is done nursing.
But instead, I am trying to remember that they crave closeness right now.
They need me.
And I want them to remember me pulling them close, not pushing them away.
But it's not easy, this dying to self.

This weekend I was hot and sweaty after yard work and washing the car.  
The kids were already in the pool when I came out in my bathing suit to join them.
"Are you going in the pool with us Mommy?" cried 3 voices almost in unison.
"Yes I am!"
They cheered.
You would have thought I said I was taking them to Disneyland.

Here's something else that's shameful to admit.
Far too often I use that time that they are happily playing to get something done.
Clean the bathroom, make a phone call, load the dishwasher, sweep, or some other task that I deem more important than time spent with them.
How much fun we had in that pool.
So much so they asked me again today, "are you coming swimming with us today, Mommy?"
"Yes I am!"
And not after I fold the laundry.
Right now.
They just want to be with me.

Love from,

"For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command:
love your neighbor as yourself."  
Galatians 5:14


Summers Family said...

Such a great post Greta! I'm happy to have this be the last thing I read before going to bed tonight. I know my littles need me and I'm sad to admit that I can relate to every word you wrote. I hope your words help me to pull them in closer tomorrow instead of pushing them away. It's going to a hot one again tomorrow :-o


Kitty said...

This post made me cry. I too just had a baby (three weeks old this week!) and my older two boys have been needing more of me than I feel I can give. I miss them, and I know they miss the mom that used to play with them! Thank you for the reminder that even the little things make a difference in the end. I'll try again tomorrow.

Laura said...

wow...that post hit home. sounds like my house, except i only have two boys.

i found the same thing when my younger son was born - the baby part was easy, it was keeping his older brother occupied & feeling loved that was a challenge.

thanks for the reminder that our little ones just want to be with us & that giving them our love & attention is the most important way for us to show them how much we love them.

jessicaclarke said...

I can totally relate to this I have a 3 year old, 15 month old, and 3 month old and sometimes all I want to say is I need a minute of quiet, but i am trying hard to be better and understand all they need is me. Sometimes between making meals and cleaning up I feel like I barely spent time with them. Love the post, ur blog is one of my favorites:) if u have a chance would love if u checked out my blog boys, toys, chaos, and joys

judy said...

What a wonderful reminder to keep on keeping on!!!! You are a fabulous mother and I know that your kids will rise up and call you blessed!!!! God is so good to give us the most important reminders...he loves us so!!!! Don't beat yourself up for wanting a few minutes here and there...and leave the fingerprints on the walls!!!! Love you! Judy

Jessica said...

I love this post. Thanks for sharing your heart. Your blog is lovely!

Adrian said...

I can totally relate to this post. I think most mothers can. I'm on vacation away from our house this week and I realized while I'm at home I don't play enough with my boys. I don't throw the ball enough, get in the pool enough or play cars enough. There's always something that needs be done around the house, but I need to let it go more often. Thank you for this post.

jdzjane said...

Your words really make me stop and think of my actions toward my children. How these things affect them. Thank you allowing God to use you to open my eyes.


Swenja said...

You're right. I know you're right. It's just so hard sometimes - and I only have 2 boys! I copied your post to my inspiration file on evernote so I have a reminder next time I want some time for myself...

On the other hand - only a happy Mommy makes for happy kids so keep doing SOMETHING for yourself (preferably blogging of course ;))

Chrissy @ Boerman Ramblings said...

i found your blog through a comment you left on nato's and i think God needed me to read both post. thanks so much for sharing your heart!

Chrissy @ Boerman Ramblings said...

I hope you dont mind but i shared a link to this post on my blog today

Jami Nato said...

love this post. i think you touched on how all mothers feel...ugg, such a pull!

.jimaie.marie. said...

I found this post coming over from Jami's blog and man, you totally tugged at my heart strings-I'm in tears over here. I'm a mother of 2 boys and expecting a little girl any day now and I know God sent me over here to read this b/c I can relate OH so well to your words.
Thank you for the reminder, thank you for your words- God is using you and I am ever so grateful today for that!

hannah singer said...

gracious. if this wasn't meant for me right this instant! i am on a (weary)vacation and have allowed stress and a wee bit of bitterness to set in.

repenting now, thanks for being a light for HIM.

Alima said...

wow. tears streaming down my face. I so needed to read that right now. I've never seen your blog before now. I was reading another blog and someone posted a link to this post. When I saw "they just want to be with me" in the title I knew I had to read it. I only have one but I am struggling with his extreme clingyness right now. I feel guilty all the time for wanting my space, but at the same time I justify my feelings to myself. My son is almost 2 and can't really verbalize what he is feeling yet, but never in a million years would I want him to feel like I was pushing him away. I never thought of it like that until you said it that way.
Anyways, I am really rambling now, but I just wanted to say thanks so much. This really touched my heart and I am vowing now to do better. To be better to him. Thanks :)

Laurie J said...

wow can i relate! love this, and the great reminder.