It's not just the deadbeat dad.
What about the missing mom?
Sometimes I can go through phases where I stare at my phone for a while. Then others I only look at it quickly, almost oblivious to it. But lets talk about the times when I am actively choosing the alternate reality of some other mom's Instagram story over building lasting memories with my own children.
Let's honestly ask ourselves ... Are we present or are we missing out ?
Life is precious. Literally it can be gone so quickly. This month will make a year when some dear friends of ours lost their two year old daughter. One day she was here smiling and playing and the next, a family begins to experience an absent hole in their heart that only the Lord is able to comfort. Life is precious. I ought to treasure the time I have with my children, making the most of it.
Sometimes it can be a challenge to be intentional, but I cannot fall into the trap of some elaborate Pinterest play time. Really I need to just be there. Be present. Read a book. Sit on the floor with them. Move the sweet little hairs out from their eyes. Look at them. Respond the first time they call out for "Mama". I have the privilege of helping impact and shape the next generation with the two right in front of me.
I need to constantly be asking myself,
- How am I going to utilize the time I have with them?
- How do I want them to remember me?
- Is family discipleship a part of everyday living?
- What do I want to instill in them?"
This happens now. Not later. now. If I focus my attention on God's perspective of children and not our worlds, there would be such a shift in the amount of time I cherish them. To the Lord children are a blessing, a heritage, a reward (Psalm 127:3). David calls out to the Lord, praising God for creating him. If I had the intentionality towards my own children that the Lord shows me, how different my response would be. Praise God for His grace and example to reflect his love for us to our own little blessings.
So why do I do this? The Nielsen Company shows the growing involvement on social media and it doesn't seem like I am the only one. Before we know it were sitting on the couch, phone in hand for what quickly became 45 minutes as our toddler has utterly pulled out every toy imaginable and the living room has turned into a minefield and now they our nestled in our laps scrolling with us!
Honestly. I can be lazy, I tell myself, "I'm too tired. I need a break. I don't have the energy today."
I can be selfish. "I don't feel like "adulting" right now. Why do I have to do everything? When do I get me time?" Please hear me, I am a firm believer to taking care of yourself, resting and rejuvenating. I truly think moments like this keep you grounded and grateful.
But I am talking to myself here "When is enough, enough? How many excuses will I make for myself? How many lies will I listen to?"
If you are in Christ there is rest for the weary soul, there is peace and joy and life. We need to remind ourselves of these things and invite people in to help us do this. He provides our strength and selfless love to care for the "little" blessings he has given us to care for. We just need to feel confident and comfortable to ask Him, trusting in His goodness and character not our own.
Becoming the missional mom
Lets get practical. I know I don't want to waste away this time anymore. What can we do to not fall into the trap...
- Set a timer. And when it goes off the phone goes away. Not in our pocket but on a shelf or in another room.
- Rearrange apps on our devices. Put them on the second page or in a Social Media folder.
- Download an app tracker to truly find out how much time you spend : / (this is a shocking one).
- Turn off social media notifications.
- Start training your mind to use your phone in other ways. Read the bible, quietly or aloud to your kiddos, listen to a podcast (Risen Motherhood is amazing), practice scripture memory (we use the fighter verse app), play some music and have a dance party with the kiddos or just some background noise.
- Plan intentional time with your children. Ex. At 10 am were going to do a craft, draw, build a fort, play in the kitchen or do some structured learning. If we tell our kiddos ahead of time, I'm sure they will keep us be accountable ;)
- Build relationships. Real ones. Have play dates to entertain the little ones while the mamas can discuss topics other than the kiddos. Ask how things are going? What are you reading currently? Pray together. This time doesn't have to be only for the children. Make the most of it.
- Reflect on the Gospel, on His grace, on Eternity.
If we truly desire to have an eternal mindset, I believe we will utilize our time differently than how the world uses its time. Questions like What matters most? Is this important? Will this make a difference? These types will begin to surface in our minds and hearts and we discover we want the things of Christ not the comparison to the World. We become the missional mom not the missing mom. And that is what our children desire most as well as the Lord.