Written by Stacy Karen, Contributing Writer
We know that kids need quality and quantity time with their parents in order to connect with them. We know the value of tying heart strings between us.
But what’s a mom to do when she is already exhausted?
Motherhood is not for wimps. Meeting the needs of children can be draining at times.
Add to that pregnancy, a little morning sickness, a newborn, or just general life stuff, and you can get tired pretty quickly.
As someone who is rebuilding after a pretty bad illness (and coming back from the edge of burnout, if I’m being completely honest), I’m very familiar with this. It burdens my heart to think about meeting the needs of my children when I am in a state of exhaustion. It’s not something to neglect.
Thankfully I’ve found a few simple ways to connect with my kids that don’t require too much effort on my part, and I’ve realized that it doesn’t take a circus act or Pinterest-worthy craft to bond with my children.
Today I’m going to share with you what works for me, but I could use some more ideas and would love for you to chime in with your suggestions in the comments.
Here is my list of simple ways to connect with your kids when you’re already tired:
1. Kids just want YOU!
For the most part kids just want their moms to be there. They don’t need fancy outings or elaborate projects; they just want your company. So, sitting on the floor next to them while they play Legos is actually fantastic (even though it might not feel like much).
Last week I sat in the dirt while my three year old made mud pies. She was happy and I didn’t do much more than sit and pretend to drink mud-tea once in a while. The sun was shining and I was able to rest while spending time with my daughter. (Obviously this doesn’t always go so well. Sometimes we have to take our chances.)
2. Sit on their bed at night and let them talk.
I’ve found laying next to my oldest daughter at night to be one of the best moments in our day. I don’t do it every night, but when I do, it’s nothing short of amazing.
Often times I don’t do anything except be still and listen. She talks and talks. I add in every now and then, but mostly, I’m just being there, giving her my undivided attention. (That’s what kids really want.)
I’ve found that these few minutes go a long way in strengthening our relationship.
3. Bake something
OK, so this does require some effort, but it doesn’t involve me thinking up anything to do. I get out the recipe, the ingredients, and then follow along.
Sometimes the thinking up of ideas is the hardest part for me. Truly.
Baking with my kids provides a way to do something together without the need for a lot of planning on my part.
Depending on the age of your kids this could be more difficult.
Here’s me baking with my youngest. I’m pretty tired (you can even see the dark circles/bags under my eyes), but look at her little face. So happy!
4. 15 minutes of whatever
A long time a go I read that children need at least 15 minutes of our undivided attention each day. I don’t know how true that number is, but I think it’s a good place to start. I’ve tried (and need to get back to) telling my kids they have 15 minutes with me to do whatever they want (within reason). And, boy, do they ever look forward to it!
The great thing about this is that I don’t have to think ahead or plan anything (do you see a theme emerging here?). I was afraid they would want to do complicated stuff and it would cause me stress, but usually they just want me to sit with them and listen to a story they have written, talk with them , or play catch. Nothing fancy.
5. Watch a movie together
I’m not a big fan of TV, but it is helpful sometimes. Usually when I let my kids watch something, I make use of the time by running around trying to get a bunch of things checked off my to-do list. However, I’ve noticed that the occasions where I do sit down and actually watch the movie with them (okay, I might nap a little, too), they love it.
Just sitting with them in a non-distracted manner makes them happy. Sharing the experience of the movie bonds us.
There is no getting around a little just pushing through on some days. And even the simplest of things can feel like too much.
Let’s strive to do our best, rest when we can, and give ourselves grace. Oh, and look for some simple ways to connect with our kids that don’t overburden our already tired state.