Mother’s Day weekend has arrived, and I just told my eight-year-old son that if he stayed on his device any longer, his brain might fry. Take me out of the running for mother of the year. So much for limiting screen time. Insert my favorite meme circulating: Quarantine life has you thinking your phone battery life is deteriorating, but then realize you’re using it for 17 hours every day. Sure, I feel bad about my children’s extra screen time but some days it is a life saver when back to back work meetings keep me chained to my office desk and my husband chained to his new office – the dining room table (but let me be clear, not a day goes by that we don’t pause and feel complete gratitude for being employed and having good health).
Earlier in the week a colleague spoke up and reminded us all to show more grace. She is right. Give yourself a break when conversations with colleagues go sideways or when your kids are on Minecraft 20 minutes longer than usual. Give colleagues a break when they don’t want to turn on their video camera while on a meeting. Don’t take for granted the fact that you may be the only positive thing in a person’s day. Showing more grace or compassion – whatever your word preference might be, is something my own mother taught me at a very early age. To this day she continues to say no matter what the circumstance is or cards you have been dealt, always show compassion and choose your words wisely. True compassion is motivated by the needs of the receiver not the needs of the giver. Words are wastefully thrown around often, but purposefully kind words go a long way. If you admire something about someone, tell them. If you appreciate something someone did, tell them. If you miss someone, tell them. People want to be special. People will remember the kind things you said about them. Never let a moment pass where you didn’t share a kind thought or embrace a moment to show compassion.
My mother is miles away and we’ll FaceTime on Sunday instead of all being together and feasting on smoked turkey, homemade potato salad and peach cobbler. Despite not having any in-person time with her, we have lots to be thankful for and she continuously keeps me in check by reminding me to focus on what is most important in life.
Applying Mom’s Motto – Remember What Is Important
The ability to prioritize is indeed a talent, a skill, which comes with experience. My mother suggests making a to-do list and then be flexible with it as it will certainly change throughout the day, week, month. Lists help us determine what must be done and then we rank items in order of importance. At home, my top priorities include things like more play time than screen time, preparing meals (I find baking and cooking very therapeutic) and making time for a real sit-down family dinner where we each share the best part of our day.
With home-school being the new norm, we gauge our weekly teaching “success” by getting three days’ worth of assignments done on weekdays. And try to get one more completed on the weekend. My husband is an educator and one of his social posts puts this into perspective: “You’re a parent first. Don’t sacrifice your relationship with your child for the academics. Sometimes completing a 10-minute walk together accomplishes more than completing 10 more math problems.” Remember what is important…..quality time that keeps you calm and grows your most precious relationships.
Life can be messy, but it also can be so, so sweet. When it gets hard, remember what’s most important. If you haven’t made a list of your own, I challenge you to! Mom’s know best and taking more time to call out what is most important will get you thinking not only about what you want in life, but who you want to be in life, too. We let the little things pass us by when we really shouldn’t. I’ll end with my favorite quote that my mom helped me frame for the kid’s playroom: “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”