By Paula Miller
"Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward." Psalms 127:3 (NKJV)
As a Christian mother, I have come to the realization that the quality time I spend with my children is one of the most important decisions I will ever make. It is a decision that will effect my children far beyond their childhood. I didn't come to this realization easily though, there were a few bumps along the way before God opened my eyes through a conversation with my sister.
As a young girl, in my adolescent and high school years, I had one prayer that I consistently repeated; I wanted to become a wife and a mother. I didn't desire anything more than to have a family and to hold my babies in my arms.
I would be a good mom, I thought. Our days would be filled with walks on bright sunny days, afternoons spent in the park until the sun faded, and a bed-time story each and every night. A harsh word would never pass my lips, hugs of understanding would be my hallmark, and above all, I would teach them about the Father, and be the best example I could be.
And then the baby came.
At first it was all I'd ever dreamed of. A tiny, puckered face transformed into a smile that melted my heart and baby bubbles blew from perfect, pink lips. A little hand wrapped around my finger, and yes, I was positively captivated by the toes curled inside those little blue booties.
Time went on and baby grew.
Baby number One was joined by baby number Two.
Oh, the joy in watching a little boy discover his brother's little fingers, tiny pug-shaped nose, and soft, downy hair. But soon gentle admonitions such as, "don't put your fingers up his nose", and "when your brother cries that means he doesn't want to wrestle any more" replaced our hours of story telling. Somehow the days of silly faces and peek-a-boo were substituted for a few more loads of laundry and a bigger pile of toys to pick up.
What was supposed to be a day in the park became a quick walk past the playground because mom had too many things to do at home. A cartoon that kept them entertained so mom could wash dishes and worry about the laundry piled on the floor, replaced a storybook. A little boy who spilled a cup of juice did not receive a hug of understanding, but a mom who would sigh to herself in frustration because the mop had been put away only ten minutes earlier.
And then one day, as I was talking to my sister, she told me, "I love coming home from work each day because I can give my kids a few hours of undivided attention. You know how the old adage goes, 'quality versus quantity.'"
I paused. Undivided attention? Although I had the entire day, 24 hours every day, to spend with my children, when was I supposed to do that? There was laundry and dishes to wash, dinner to be made, toys to pick up . . . and then I stopped. What had I become? When had a load of laundry taken precedence over ten minutes to snuggle close to two growing boys? When had a cartoon become a better option then getting down on the floor and building the best block tower in the world? My determination to be 'the best mom in the world' was suffocating under a myriad of excuses.
I was supposed to be the ideal mother who taught them about a loving Father-but does God ever tell His children that He doesn't have time to listen? Does He tell us that He's too busy for one-on-one quiet time?
I may have a large quantity of time to spend with my children, but it doesn't matter if the quality of that time is poor at best. I can only thank the Lord that He reminded me of the love my children needed to be shown, not just told. My two boys would only be little for a short time.
So, I made a decision to change. I want their memories to be filled with a mother who took the time to hug and to play, to kiss a bruise and read a story, to talk and to listen. I can assure you that these will be the memories all of us will cherish. Memories of time spent willingly and happily.
Of quality, not quantity.
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