So, there are those days when everything is so wonderful and follows along perfectly with my plans. The kids are obedient and happy and helpful and get along just smashingly. Ok, so I guess that there are those days. At least that’s what I have heard and…ummm… read on facebook. Those kind of days only exist in my dreams here in the Hough house. The only thing that is even remotely accurate in this “dream world” of mine is that my kids gets along smashingly all right. That part is true, at least in a Noah-threw-a-wooden-hammer-at-Gianna-and-smashed-her-in-the-stomach kind of way. (sigh)
My fantastic and possibly overly ambitious idea of Camp Hough has been well received by the Houghlings. We have enjoyed painting and crafting, making tents and building with Legos. We have learned about a few saints and the kids have learned how to cook and bake a few things. We have put together puzzles and I even taught the middles how to play Backgammon. We have even managed to head to the pool several times. It has been really nice. But the problem that I have is the same problem that I always have. I plan these wonderfully “pin worthy” things to do with the kids and then real life sets in. Doctor’s appointments and dentist appointments, college visits and bills needing to be paid, paperwork and crabby uncooperative kids. And let’s face it, there are just those days when I am happy that we all manage to get on clean jammies and brush our teeth at least once before bed.
While I was sipping, ok, guzzling my coffee this morning, Gianna started to whine and complain that we haven’t done Camp Hough yet this week. Why haven’t we done Camp Hough? It’s not fair that we haven’t done Camp Hough…blah blah blah. Seriously?! I am barely managing to keep my heavy heavy eyelids open and she is harping on me. Today was one of those days that made Camp Hough nearly impossible. Three kids with doctor appointment, three with dentist appointments, two boys with sports camp, two at work, a house that looked like a bomb had recently exploded in it, a graduation party looming in the very, very near future and of course “WHY AREN’T WE DOING CAMP HOUGH?!” I kind of wanted to pluck out my eyes and stick them in my ears. That way I wouldn’t be able to see or hear anything that was going on around me.
Am I being a teensy bit dramatic? Well, maybe, but seriously, you did not see my living room. After my coffee settled in and started to work it’s wonderfully amazing caramel macchiato magic, the days events started to fall into place, at least in my head. In reality, the day was full of running around, A LOT of running around. I loaded everyone up and did what needed to be done. In between trips to and from, well everywhere, we were home for a short amount of time and I managed to fold about 5 loads of laundry and scrub out my fridge. I even squeezed in a workout. So while I would love to pat myself on the back for being reasonably productive today, I can’t. Stupid Camp Hough. It is hanging over my head. All that I can hear is Gia’s squeaky little voice, “WHY mom?!? WHY CAN’T WE DO CAMP HOUGH?!” ugh. Just so you know, I am Italian, I am Catholic, I am a mother and a woman. I have the guilt thing down. It is somewhat of an art form, and if I am being honest, I am pretty darn good at it. Apparently guilt is a herititary trait. Gianna also has the dark gift. She is quite talented at pouring it on, good and thick. Oh, that girl child of mine!
You see this is the problem that plagues us as mothers. We plan some fun and exciting activity and the kids enjoy it. In fact, they love it. And they want to keep doing it, again and again and again. In a nutshell, our awesomeness turns around to bite us in the butt. Camp Hough has bit me in the butt. Thankfully, I keep a stash of craft supplies hidden in various locations around the house, because if there is one thing that can calm the beasts (and by beasts, I mean my sweet little angel faces, of course!) it is an impromptu craft. We mothers need to have a little something up our sleeve to combat the whining and the guilt that is thrown at us for not being able to maintain a certain level of amazingness. It can be a trip to a park, a “wopicle” (AKA popsicle to the over three crowd) an afternoon movie on netflix or the above mentioned craft. Pinterest has saved my butt more than a few times. The whining and fighting had reached a feverish pace and I was starting to go a little bit crazy. I reached up my magical sleeve and pulled out a craft. That should keep them busy for a little while, so that I can just get a few more things done. It didn’t work. My foolproof defense was completely useless. What the what?!? I thought about what was going on. What was I missing? What was the missing link?
So, here is the deal. It has taken me 14 years of this motherhood thing to finally figure it out. I am going to share it with all of you. Most of you probably already figured this out, but I am a tad on the slow side. On the days when you are super busy and don’t have a minute to spare and your kids are fighting like crazy and pushing you to contemplate slightly insane things (like plucking out your eyeballs and stuffing them into your ears?!) there is only one thing that you can do to restore order and peace. Are you ready? Are you sure?
YOU are the missing link! It is YOU! Stop what you are doing. Stop the cleaning or paying the bills, stop folding laundry or making your grocery list. Stop facebook-ing and pinterest-ing. Just stop all of it and spend some time with your kids. Take a half an hour and read a book together, put together a puzzle, make a dessert for after dinner. Just spend some time with them. Snuggle on the couch or build a fort out of pillows. This is what makes you an awesome mom. This is what made my kids love Camp Hough. It wasn’t the crafts or the scavenger hunt. It wasn’t even the “wopicles “or building churches out of legos. Nope, it was so much simpler than all of that. They just wanted my undivided attention. They just wanted to spend time with me! Shut the front door! Are you kidding me. My kids actually like me?!? They like to do things with me?! That was the key. When I stopped what I was doing, and really looked at my kids and became involved with what they were doing, they fought less, they listened better, they were happier and so was I.
It always amazes me that here I am, a stay at home mom, and there are days that go by when I realize that I haven’t had an actual conversation with any of the kids. The whole point of being a SAHM is to be here for my kids. It is so easy to get caught up in doing the things that need to be done for our kids, that we forget all about spending time with our kids. Once again I smile at the wisdom of our Pope. He has called us to waste time with our kids. Waste time WITH our kids. So simple. So easy. It is also, actually, so much fun! So now that I have figured out this little tidbit of awesomeness, I am going to go and waste some time with my littles. I am going to go and play some backgammon with my middles. I am going to go and give them the very first and very best gift that I have to give them. My time. Night all!