|My office (with my chair turned away from my desk)|
Another blogger was complaining last night about fighting with her 3 kids to get to bed ... and stay there. I don't know what the situation was for her, but it made me think about my own child-rearing tendencies. I was a stay-at-home mom back in the 80s and 90s and, let me tell you, I am so grateful the Internet, Facebook, blogging and texting were not part of my life then.
When I had my children, my husband and I decided I would put my career on hold and stay home with them. That was a decision I will never regret. We sacrificed. We scrimped. We managed. After I was widowed and the kids started school, I did pick up a part time job in a flower shop. I only worked when they were in school, so I had my summers off. The job provided a social outlet and allowed me to exercise my creativity.
It wasn't until my youngest was in high school that I really started pursuing my career as a writer. I launched my writing and voice over business two years after she graduated. However, in her final years at home, I fell into a habit that I will regret forever. Even as I sit here writing this, my eyes are filling with tears. The pain of regret is that real.
After Jess moved out, I found a notebook of hers. Inside was a rant she wrote one night.
Mom says I can talk to her about anything, but I'm sick of talking to her back.
Ahh, the computer chair. You know the one. It can swivel. It can face away from the computer. It can face a child. Or a teenager. A young adult. A spouse. But I didn't take advantage of that vital feature. My daughter would come in at night and I would be busy in my office. She would behind me and talk to me while I continued to tap away on my keyboard or, at the very least, scroll through whatever it was that held my interest on the Internet at the time.
I'm sick of talking to her back.
The words are like a knife in my back... or more accurately, in my heart.
I know she's forgiven me. It's me that can't forgive myself.
Moms -- pay attention. Nothing is as important, other than your marriage, than your children. Your blog can wait. Missing an update or two on Facebook won't matter. The television is not invested in you. Your kids are. A strong, healthy relationship with them will pay dividends unlike anything else. Invest in them. Make them your priority. Let them see your face... looking at them, not down at your iPhone as you're texting yet another message.
Because, take it from me, the pain of knowing you let them down, does not go away. And no amount of vinegar can remedy that. Not even on a Vinegar Friday.