Stepping Up My Game
One of my favorite parts of freelance writing is interviewing experts and learning about interesting subjects. Often I choose to write parenting or lifestyle articles that, quite honestly, can benefit me. Many times they’re life-changing, like the article I wrote last spring about organic eating. I haven’t sipped conventional milk since.
Or, like the parenting feature I recently penned about children and motivation. After speaking with a psychologist for 50 minutes, I had enough information to write my article, and was motivated, ahem, to reassess my parenting style and take a long look in the mirror.
The doctor didn’t share any groundbreaking new studies with me or drop some new science; in fact her message was simple:
The most successful kids have parents who make them a priority.
She wasn’t suggesting that parents obsess over their children, but when you have children, you need to make time for them.
That’s how they learn. They watch us. The choices we make on how to spend our time are molding their values and priorities. If we don’t make time for homework, then they assume homework is not important. If we don’t make sure they practice their instrument, we’re telling them they don’t need to work hard to get better.
Being a parent is hard – I know you hear me preaching choir – and sometimes it’s easier to let kids off the hook than to battle with them or to skip their practice when you’re exhausted after a long day’s work.
*insert a wave of guilty feelings here*
I’ve always known what the good doctor shared with me, but haven’t always acted on it. I needed her reminder to step my game up. Parents have the awesome responsibility to raise successful, responsible people. That takes time and commitment – even when we’re tired.
If we want our children to be best they can be, then we have to give our best, too. I’m a good parent, but I looked in the mirror and saw I could be better; and I plan to show my kids that, too.
Lorraine Sanabria Robertson is an author, nationally published freelance writer and social media enthusiast. Her work has appeared in various publications including Heart and Soul, Upscale and Teen People magazines. She is co-owner of The BlogRollers Media, a digital media consulting company and is creator of AskWifey. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Napoleon, and their children, Miles, 8, and Milan, 6.
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The Gift of Time Makes All the Difference
Making my children a priority is something that I constantly struggle with. Working a full-time job that requires constant travel, maintaining two blogs, and volunteering at church is taxing. Sometimes, I just want to crawl into bed or veg-out with an episode of Arrested Development.
However, my plans are often thwarted by my children’s needs.
“Daddy, will you give me a daddy-back ride?” asks my 8-year-old daughter, Nee.
“Daddy, will you play wrestling with me?” asks my 6-year-old son, N.
“Daddy, read book,” demands my 2-year-old son, X.
But placing their desires ahead of mine and giving them the time they deserve is where I struggle. There is always another blog post to write, another e-mail to send, or another photo to edit. It sometimes gets to the point where my kids have to beg me to put the computer aside and pay attention to them. When I finally relent, I’m rewarded with special moments of fun and laughter that I would have missed if I had placed my needs above theirs. These are the moments that memories are made from.
Sure they love the Disney World excursions and trips to the zoo, but it’s the quiet moments that I spend with my children that have the biggest impact.
This point was proven one morning when I took my sons to IHOP. While we were enjoying some pancakes, my 2-year-old son X started tugging on my shirt.
“Daddy, go Chuck E. Cheese,” he said.
“Would you like to go to Chuck E. Cheese’s?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said with a huge grin on his face.
“What about you, N?” I asked my older son. “Do you want to go to Chuck E. Cheese’s too?”
“No daddy,” he responded. “All I want to do is spend time eating breakfast with you.”
His comment warmed my heart and filled me with joy.
We didn’t go to Chuck E. Cheese’s that day. Instead, we went straight home and played wrestling.
Question: How do you show your children that they are a priority in your life?