Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Cookies Are Not Quality Time
I've been flying solo as the parent at home this week - and if anyone knows me well, you know that I don't do 'alone' with grace. I get hideously stressed out when I have to be on my own (even with three kids in the house, I still feel alone). And when I'm stressed, I like to 'treat' myself. Which this week took the form of a big batch of chocolate chip cookies. I told myself I was doing something special for my kids because their world was pretty lonely, too (my middle child has been waking up crying for Daddy every night). But when I really stopped to think about it, I was shocked to realize what I was teaching my kids. I was teaching them that the way to soothe sadness and stress is with lots and lots of empty calories. My kids didn't need cookies, they needed cuddles. Giving them sweets was not making up for my lack of personal attention. In all my efforts to 'get it all done' I haven't been setting aside enough time just for them. And I thought to myself - wouldn't it be wonderful if my kids grew up associating the word "treat" not with desserts but with extra hugs, snuggling up with a good book or a lively romp around the back yard. I want my kids to beg for Mommy's time, not her baking. And I think, really, when they're screaming "cookie cookie" they really would be just as happy sitting on Mommy or Daddy's lap coloring instead. So my goal for the future is to spend more time playing with the kids and less time baking for them. And to work on my own perception of what a 'treat' is - maybe I can splurge on a massage once Daddy is home or, at the very least, take a nice hot bath once all the kiddos are in bed. Those are much healthier choices than a pile of sugar and just as satisfying and relaxing. Hopefully, if I work hard enough, even I will learn to associate "treat" with quality time and not sugary foods instead.