What mask are you wearing for the world?

kidsandme

I want to share something a little deeper that happened at my women’s church retreat. The theme of the retreat was removing the masks that we wear. I didn’t have to think about the mask that I wear because I have been struggling with that mask ever since I gave birth to my son 14 years ago. The mask that I wear is that I pretend to myself that I am doing the best I can as a mom, but in my heart – I know that I am not. Before you root for me and tell me how amazing I am, please hear me out.

With good intentions, I attend countless workshops on how to be a better person and I am inundated with everyone else’s reality of what success looks like, of what balance looks like, of what raising children should like, and although all that information can be very empowering, I have found that it has also distorted my perception of what I want my families core values to be.

When my husband was alive we had a pretty good system – still flawed, but it worked because we had young kids. He was the fun dad, and I was the disciplinary. As he enjoyed life with the kids I kept busy with being busy. I could get away with it because he interacted with his children at 100% – he was a star parent in this area. He didn’t set them up to have fun, he was the fun, he was in it with them. Since his passing, I tend to continue to stand on the sidelines as I multi-task and do other things that I believe take precedence. You know, the things that I imagine are just as important as my children because I am a single mom and I have to multi-task. The truth is – I don’t have to multi-task, I choose to multi-task. Nothing that I do, is that urgent or important. I am taking ownership of my faults. I attend soccer games, but I take client calls, I tell my son to put his phone away at dinner but yet I pull out mine just to check out something quick, but it’s never quick. I give speedy hugs, but I don’t immerse myself in the goodness of exchanging unconditional love.

How do you look at your children when they walk in a room? What do you think they see? Do they see a mother rushing them off, a frustrated mom, a mom glued to her phone, a disappointed mom – or do they see love?

I don’t know what my children see, but I will ask them today. I’m kind of nervous about that. I want them to know how much they are loved, to know that hugs are more than 5 seconds long, to see in my eyes that when they walk into a room that my heart is lit up; to know that when they speak I am present, that when mistakes happen that we can laugh, to know that when they test my patience that they never have to question my love, and when they experience turmoil in their life that they know that God’s door is open when they feel that no one will understand.

I will make one small change because anything more than that will be short lived. I will NOT entertain social media after 3pm on school days when any of my kids are present. This is tremendously difficult for me because I use social media for my business, but this small sacrifice is a no-brainer. As my children get older, the window of opportunity to have an impact on their lives is getting smaller and smaller. There is no greater gift to another human being than to validate their existence in the here and now, and to show them is to teach them. The present is a gift.

Food for thought: What will a study look like 20 years from now as they look at how social media and family values were impacted in this generation?

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