So this weekend Alan and I babysat two girls – an 8 year old and a 6 year old. I was really excited because lately I kept thinking about how I want to fast forward my life to 5 years from now when I have more kids that are a little older, Alan will have a good job and be done with school, and I can be involved in the community and schools doing things for my kids. I get a little ahead of myself sometimes. But it just seems like it will be the prime of my life!
However I did read a quote the other day by President Monson in this month’s Ensign which says,
“Near the end of his life, one father looked back on how he had spent his time on earth. An acclaimed, respected author of numerous scholarly works, he said, ‘I wish I had written one less book and taken my children fishing more often.’
“Time passes quickly. Many parents say that it seems like yesterday that their children were born. Now those children are grown, perhaps with children of their own. ‘Where did the years go?’ they ask. We cannot call back the time that is past, we cannot stop time that now is, and we cannot experience the future in our present state. Time is a gift, a treasure not to be put aside for the future but to be used wisely in the present.”
And then having the girls this weekend really helped me appreciate my one little baby for now. I like my time to myself, I like getting things done, I like focusing on my one child for now. I’m looking forward to the day when I have more kids and can just wrap myself in their lives, but I’m learning to appreciate the time I have now and to appreciate the present.
As Alan and I talked about this weekend, I also learned some things which are essential for when our kids get older. Here’s what we decided:
1. A bigger place to live – preferably a house.
2. A backyard and front yard – in a neighborhood so they can play outside safely.
3. Their own rooms – meaning a place for them to play. Each child doesn’t need to have their own room, but they need a room to play in.
4. A place for crafts/play time – this can be their room or another spot of the house with organized boxes where they can keep everything. I think it will be easier to clean up one room rather than the whole living room every time.
5. Set rules – As an elementary education major I thought this would come naturally while babysitting, but I realized I really need to think out how I want to discipline and reward my kids before they get older. Good thing I have a couple of years. 😉
6. Educational toys – Yes TV is a good babysitter, but I want my kids to learn and discover! Using your imagination is great!
7. Start a collection of dress ups – Alan’s mom started collecting her old clothes as dress ups for her daughter. Such a good idea because all little girls want to do is dress up like their mom anyway. Why buy it?
8. A routine – the girls’ mom gave us an example of a day for them and they had a little routine. I really liked that. Kids thrive on routines and schedules! Surprising right? But this was taught over and over in my elementary education classes. Why do you think experts express the need for a bedtime routine for babies so much?
Anyway, this weekend really helped me reflect on what I want for my kids as they get older. Not that the girls we babysat didn’t do or have all these, it was just a good time to reflect on what I want to do as a future mother of more children.
And Alan did say that if we have more than 2 girls in a row that we will be done having children. In my family we had 3 girls and that worked for us, but I think he feels there needs to be a boy in there to mix things up. So I’m praying that one of our next two babies is a boy so we can have more than 3 kids. 😉