It’s the question that plagues me as a parent… How you nourish your kids body and mind through quality time?
And here’s my truth- as a parent- it feels at moments that I may very well be swallowed whole by all the laundry that awaits me , which continues to mound on my son’s bed or the never ending dust bunnies that cover every last nook and cranny of my house which scream to be cleaned. And in the face of all this housework-nourishing my kids’ bodies and minds through quality time often takes a backseat. Yes I am a BAD MOTHER. Then we had a blackout, courtesy of a storm and a change was literally forced upon us.
There is nothing like a blackout, which robs you of all the modern conveniences you take for granted, and brings with it a kind of deafening silence that compels you to take stock of the family dynamic that exists between you and your kids.
In my family’s case, after we all freaked out for a solid five minutes, my kids were upset that they couldn’t watch television while my husband and I frantically ransacked the house for our one working flashlight(note to self- buy emergency supplies!). Then something quite unexpected occurred, we lit candles, plopped ourselves on the couch and proceeded to play!
I know-it sounds very kumbayish- but you’ll have to take my word for it that it’s true. This compulsory family time- forced us to engage in basic play like; word games, charades and sing-a-longs. For two-hours we were so occupied in our unplugged play games we barely noticed that there was no electricity. Of course, once the lights went back on, we each rushed back to our respective corners- e-mailing, watching SpongeBob Square Pants, but jointly vowed to participate in unplugged play at least once a week.
And so, since our unfortunate blackout- I’ve found some pretty stellar ways to nourish my kids, who I’ve learned require their own unique nourishment!
For my 12 year-old son I learned (and have since) spent countless hours listening to him regale me with his stories- he can wax poetically about politics, sports, mythology and well the list goes on. More than anything he loves to sit curled up and have my rapt attention( he even tells me I’m not allowed to hold my smartphone while in the midst of his storytelling).And its in those moments that we have our most intimate conversations- and he asks me those questions that I can never seem to find just the right answers to like; Mommy what happens when we die?!”
For my daughter, finding ways to nourish her is more about spending time with her and within our shared activity organically finding ways to talk and learn about each other. And at 15 years old ever the girly girl- she will jump at the chance to go to the salon and have our toes painted, or even on a Starbucks Chai Tea run (she prefers the hot chocolate).
Mostly I’ve found quality time, and the ability to nourish my kids, comes in many different forms and can be had during almost any experience. What our kids ultimately want most from us- simply put- is just us and our time.