Today is Labor Day. Labor day became a nationally recognized holiday in 1894. It is a day that strives to honor and pay tribute to the achievements of American workers. I remember loving Labor Day when I was working full time jobs. It meant a paid, three-day weekend, sleeping in, doing something fun, or just relaxing. Well, now as a mostly stay-at-home mom, Labor Day does not mean sleeping in or relaxing. My two year old and three month old don’t really understand the concept of relaxing yet. So, it’s just another day of early rising and busyness in your house. For mothers (and fathers too), we probably don’t feel like this day recognizes or honors our really hard work that we do 24 hours a day as a stay at home parent or one who works and then comes home to parent. Although it is a privilege and honor to have children and get to love on them, I don’t think you will argue with me that it is also laborious.
Recently, I read a great article on the Huffington Post written by a mom of three. At one point she is rushing around, trying to get out the door when her 4 year old and toddler sons show up quite disheveled. She writes, “My son wasn’t trying to make us late. He was trying to help. He was trying to be self-sufficient. He had even combed his little brother’s hair. That’s why it was sopping wet. He hadn’t just combed it. He had styled it.” She proceeds to talk about how she is often the “trying-not-to-lose-it mom.” Oh, how often I can relate. It always seems to be at just the “wrong” times when I turn around my daughter is soaking wet, sticky from head to toe, needing to go potty, wailing on the ground, or just taking her sweet time when I’m in a hurry. I often find myself saying, “Elisa, take a breath, don’t lose it.” Occasionally it works.
Last week we were leaving our house to go somewhere and my two year old pulls my hand and says, “Mama, let’s go. We are in a hurry. We are going to be late.” Ironically we weren’t running late that day, but it illuminated how often I am saying those things to her. Attempting to hurry her along, and ultimately asking her to stop being the super aware, amazingly interested and observant little girl that she is who would rather skip than walk, sing that talk, and play than be still. That day, we were able to take a whole seven minutes to walk out to the car and observe bugs, the bark on our trees, and new flowers. What a delight. What a gift to let her slow me down. I realize this can’t happen all the time, but if I could stop being in such a rush to get on with my day, and let my daughters teach me a little more about this world, I would be a better person.
So, yes, we labor daily, and it’s hard, but maybe, just maybe today you can stop, and honor yourself and your little ones by slowing down, getting down, and looking at the world through their minds. It is in these moments, that how much education you’ve had, what job you do outside the home, how much money you make, where you live, or where you are going does not matter…what matters is that you are being fully present with your child, which is exactly what he/she needs!
Happy Labor Day.