It was Friday night, and I had just finished cleaning up after supper.
I decided to sweep the floor and clean up after my son's ongoing art projects. His work typically entails creations made out of paper, napkins, stickers, cups, toys, my hair clips and any other items he can find lying around, all attached together with either glue or tape.
Cleaning up is not an easy task to say the least. I often ask my preschooler to help and he gives his best effort, but it takes a little elbow grease to get the glue and tape off my table, and a dustpan to pick up the tiny remnants of paper left under his chair. I don't want to discourage his learning and creativity, so I clean it up and try not to get upset.
Two minutes after I finally finished cleaning, I reached for a glass of water with our couch in sight. I was excited to just hang out and relax for the rest of the evening.
Then, my son asked me if he could play with Play-Doh. Play-Doh in a preschooler's possession equals two things: fun for the preschooler and a mess for mom.
Imagine Play-Doh stuck in the crevice of your table, tiny dust-sized pieces all over the floor, and not to mention the one-year-old sister following close behind to eat any bright colors that fall her way.
Not only did I not want to do any more cleaning, I just wanted my floor to stay clean, at least for 12 hours. Was that too much to ask? So, although I like to encourage my kids to play instead of watch TV, tonight I just wanted TV.
My son was upset, but I bribed him with reading a book together. We read a book, and another book, and still another. Finally after eight books, I told him my eyes hurt and I just couldn't read anymore. I know reading together is important and great bonding, but enough is enough!
I felt so guilty. First I wouldn't let him be creative with Play-Doh, and then I wouldn't even read to the poor child.
As a parent, it is difficult to say no to your kids, even if the task at hand is harmless or even good for them. But sometimes we just need a moment; to breathe, to relax, to just sit.
And I think we shouldn't feel guilty for wanting that moment, especially after reading eight books in a row.