What Do They See?

November 19, 2012

A while back, I read something that changed my perspective as a parent. I don’t remember what book or article, but it was talking on raising your children. The author wrote that she made an effort to be excited to be with her kids when they asked her to play – to make her face reflect back to them that she wanted to be with them.

This hit me really hard. My face is usually the first one Bella sees after she wakes in the morning or from a nap. It’s also the one she sees all day long. There are times I am in the middle of something or just really want a few minutes in the morning for devotions, but Bella seems to have a radar for this kind of thing. “Time alone with God? Meh. Time alone with ME. And my train.”

After reading that passage, I started to wonder how it would feel to be with someone constantly who seemed annoyed or irritated you were around. And although I adore being at home, did I show that to her? Did I let her know that I loved it, that she was the little girl I had fun with? My buddy?

Making a {genuine} effort to keep this in mind has shifted my feelings on short naps, early mornings, and the never ending request to play. Do I love it all? No. There are still times where I am frustrated she didn’t nap as long as I needed her too. I don’t always enjoy sitting on the floor while Thomas makes another loop around the track or the animals get shoved in the ark. There are still times I say no to playing, because that’s life. I’m not there to be her entertainment committee or all smiles 24-7 – that’s not healthy either.

However I do hug and kiss her when she wakes up. If I open my eyes and she’s peeking over the bed, the thought goes through my head of, “You set the tone for her day.” So as much as I wanted coffee and my Bible, I snuggle with her and remember one day I’ll have all the alone time I can handle.

It’s taken a while to make this a routine in my thought process, but taking it day by day helps. She doesn’t have a choice about where she is or the attitude of the person with her all day. I certainly wouldn’t want to spend my day with someone who seemed on edge and frustrated with me – why should she? I want her to remember that the majority of the time Mama was someone she liked to be around.

Today I choose to show my child how much I love being her mom and being at home with her.

Even if she takes a short nap. 😉



  • Alexa

    November 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

    What a great post Diana. Love it that you keep keeping it real. And yes, my face hasn’t exactly been a face of JOY lately.

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    […] What do my kids see? […]

  • Shawna

    November 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Wow! Thank you for this. I needed to read this.

  • Jenny

    November 19, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Like so many others said, I really needed to read this and the timing of your post was spot on. We’ve had some pretty rough days recently and they’re not even the full days when I’m home. I’m pretty sure a lot of times my face shows anything but enthusiasm for being a mom at those moments, but I now realize that it more than likely contributes to the behavior. Maybe that explains why over-enthusiastic, always happy/laughing/smiling/playing Papa is Gavin’s favorite.person.ever.

  • Tracy @ The UnCoordinated Mommy

    November 19, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I really needed to read this. Thank you.

  • Michelle

    November 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks for this. It came at exactly the right time.

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife

    November 19, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I literally just came to this same realization this past weekend after I woke up on the wrong side of the bed on Saturday. It just wasn’t a great day for Sophia, she wasn’t bad but I was not anywhere near my game as a mom. When she spent the night at her grandmother’s house I felt really guilty. Yesterday I made sure to make much more of an effort to involve her and follow her lead and what a huge difference it made! We danced and played and when I needed to do laundry or straighten up she wasn’t right underfoot…she was happy to play by herself for a few minutes and even helped carry laundry to the couch for me.

  • Alexis

    November 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I think it was Oprah!!!!! I remember seeing it as well!

  • Lisa

    November 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Enjoy each day.. They pass so quickly. Is there something more important you could do, probably. However u will never get the time back. Enjoy the short naps and tea parties.. U will be leaving them at college or their first home to quickly. God gets it. That baby is his gift to u.
    From a Mom who regrets missing some parties!

  • Stef

    November 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    This is so perfect! As many have mentioned – such a great reminder as a parent to appreciate this time now.

  • Lauren U.

    November 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Love love love this. I need to remember this when I am frustrated with my 3 and a half year old especially. 🙂

  • Robin

    November 19, 2012 at 11:39 am

    If only more parents realized this, they would have fewer regrets later. And, if I might add one comment to your wonderful post; it is that too many parents are paying more attention to their phones than their children. What message does that send?

  • Tracy @ Liberating Working Moms

    November 19, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I so needed this today. Yesterday was a hard day for me and Abby. And the more she mimics me, the more I know that I need to lead by example. Let her know that I get she’s just being three. My job as her parent is to help her work through this.

  • Colleen

    November 19, 2012 at 11:13 am

    This really struck a chord with me today. My husband and I need to read this together and take it to heart with our son. We are always so busy that I worry the little down we have we are to negative and ‘hard’. Thank you for this post!

  • The Mrs

    November 19, 2012 at 10:56 am

    This reminds me of that Toni Morrison interview with Oprah when she talked about her face lighting up when her kids came into the room and how she realized her first response used to always be checking them over to make sure their shirts were tucked in and they weren’t being bad. That made such an impact on me…not that I always remember, but like you, I try to be conscious of my first response to them.

  • Chantal

    November 19, 2012 at 9:52 am

    This is an awesome reminder! I get annoyed so easily with the baby because I feel like I’m losing control (short naps, messy house, whatever). I need to keep it positive around her.

  • Rebecca

    November 19, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I LOVE this. It’s a great reminder to set the mood for the home and make sure our kids know we love being with them. Even when there are short {or NO} naps.

    Bella is blessed to have such a wonderful mama 🙂

  • Jen

    November 19, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Love this, thanks for the reminder! 🙂

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