I Wish I Could Babysit my Kids for a Couple Hours

Strangest thing I’ve ever said?  Probably not, but it’s a true statement.  I really, REALLY wish I could babysit my kids for a couple hours.

I’m still trying to figure out the best way to say this without it coming across the wrong way, but it hit me yesterday afternoon when Travis and I returned from an afternoon date.

Our babysitters LOVE playing with our kids.  We have three babysitters who help us out from time to time. One is a student at Cal who is about to graduate (nooooo!!!). One is an elementary school teacher. And one is an educator at the Academy of Sciences. We’ve gotten VERY lucky in our selections. They are all super smart, super helpful, and super FUN. And as I said before, they love the girls. What more could we ask for?

When I was walking one of them to the door yesterday, she was going on and on about how much FUN she and the girls had in the three hours we were gone.  She told me everything.  They read, the played, they “cooked” in the play kitchen, Mac fed Caroline her mac’n’cheese, Abby counted to 30 and spelled her name (and Mac’s), they had the best bath ever, and the list goes on.

She was so incredibly HAPPY to have spent that time with the girls.

And when she left, she simply said,  “THANK YOU for letting me play with the girls.”

HOLY MOLY.

I had this shocking sense of Mommy guilt. Not because I’m not there for my kids…I’m actually ALWAYS there. It was more a sense of not being THERE. Not being present all the time (even though I’m physically in the same space). Not enjoying all the little moments like the counting and the spelling. Not letting Mac feed Caroline because that typically means Mac isn’t feeding herself.  Details…

Why do I not end the day thinking, “I’m so lucky to play with my kids all day!”

And then it hit me. It’s because I’m their MOM. I’m the one who’s in charge of EVERY.THING. I am the one who cooks, cleans, disciplines, cries, second-guesses, over-thinks, dresses, brushes, plays, teaches, loves, explains, drives, shops, plans, organizes, laundries (let’s just pretend like that word works here), folds, and sometimes…just sometimes, rests.

I’m here. But I’m also everywhere.

And after having three kids in three and a half years (and for those of you who have kids, you’ll understand this), I’ve lost a little more of my brain power, memory, and ability to focus with each kid. And that’s a joke. Sort of. But not really.

See, I’m all over the place.

My point here is that I wish I could be focused on JUST my kids for a couple hours every day so that at the end of that time, I would say to myself, “That was so fun! My kids are amazing! They’re so bright and happy and they love each other so much!” Instead of…”Oh my goodness, I have SO MUCH to do before Travis gets home, before the girls go to bed, before I go to bed…”

And maybe that’s exactly what I NEED to do.

Maybe I need to take a page out of the girl’s book and learn how to pretend.  Pretend I have nothing else to do. Pretend like all I need to do for an hour is play. Pretend like the dishes don’t matter. Pretend like I don’t have to pay the bills. Pretend like my JOB is to have fun.

Pretend like I’m a babysitter. Like I’m there to observe and enjoy, not worry and over-think.

I feel like I would gain so much from that. And I’m pretty sure the girls would love it too…

Plus, if I’m being honest with myself, it’s the moments I’m stopping to simply enjoy them that I enjoy LIFE the most. I know it’s going to go by fast and that pretty soon they’re not going to ask me to work on puzzles or Fiddlesticks every 3 seconds, so I better enjoy it while I can.

It might take a little practice, but I’m going to give it my best shot!

Ali

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