A few days ago, I was making pancakes and signing school planners. When I snuck away to put my makeup on, I overheard my eight-year-old daughter say to my husband, “Dad, where’s mom?”
Rebekah left the kitchen and searched the halls. Eventually, she found me in the bathroom.
“I just needed to know where you were,” she said.
And that’s when it hit me. She really does care even when we clash as mother and daughter, when we have our share of debates, and when I sometimes feel like I’m not doing motherhood right.
Truth is, she has mommy radar. She’s fully aware of how engaged I am and if I’m attentive to her needs. She knows when I’m fully present or partly present on my phone. She knows more than I often give her credit for. She just wants to know I’m near her when she’s working on a project, playing horses, or watching her favorite show.
I sometimes forget that my presence with my children is one of the greatest gifts I can give them. Maybe that’s why the relationship experts say love is spelled T-I-M-E.
Social media might tell you otherwise, though. That you need to plan this certain vacation, do this awesome craft, sign up for this sport, buy that coveted L.O.L. doll, host the best birthday party for your child known to man, and be everywhere to everyone at all times because you are, in fact, super mom and super dad.
There’s a lot of talk about doing, but not much about just being. You and I were never called to be super moms and super dads, but instead faithful in our calling.
Have we forgotten that being with our children in their most formative years is building their self-worth, security, relationships, and trust in their Heavenly father who loves and cares for them more than we do?
Our presence, love, care, and concern shows them a tangible example of how Jesus loves and provides for us unconditionally and wholeheartedly- in our deepest struggles, tears, tantrums, questions, fears, hurts, and brokenness. Our nearness to them communicates that we’re here no matter what and welcome all of who they are as children- that we care about the matters of their heart.
Maybe we’ve forgotten the basics as parents? That the simple things in life are often the most precious and memorable to our children, and even to us. It doesn’t have to be complicated as we often make it.
When that day comes and they’re packing their life up and moving out of our house, may they know in their hearts,
My mom and dad were present with me. I knew that without a doubt. Their love and investment have shaped me into who I am today.
Truth is, you don’t have to do everything or be everything to everyone. You have permission to say “no” for the sake of your family. Maybe for just one day, you need to forget the to-do lists, the expectations, the newsfeeds, the perfect Pinterest pictures, being hard on yourself, and the “if only’s” and just be present with your children. I’ll try to do the same.
They need you more than anyone or anything else. Don’t underestimate the gift of your presence as Mommy and Daddy to your children. It’s more powerful than you’ll ever know.
Like what you read? Read more in Samantha’s book, Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches