So God Made a Mother is Here! 🎉

A few weekends ago we went to a hotel and upon entering the pool, found ourselves watching a stray 3-year-old as his parent stared at her phone, her back to the water behind her. The kid became a part of our tribe and we responded to the “Watch me!” and “Look at this!” from the little one. This happens sometimes I think because we have so many kids. People feel like, cool that lady must love kids she can totally hang with mine too. And I’m sure the parent had a long night, a long week, a long year. I get it.

The next day, we tackled the zoo. I watched families making their way around, and so many parents were absentmindedly walking through the exhibits, phone in hand. Not taking pictures, just scrolling and typing and shuffling kids along. The zoo is a lot to take. I get it.

While walking around the world, I have seen so many kids trying to get their dad’s attention at the game as he scrolls through his newsfeed or mom’s attention at the grocery store as she texts and pushes a cart. We have stuff to do and people to touch base with. I get it.

I get it because these parents are just like me. I know just how they feel.

I have been that parent. The one who just wanted to chat with friends. The one that just wanted to play one more round of Hay Day on her phone. The one that wanted to do a quick Facebook check in the middle of the zoo because really, it’s a whole lot of looking at animals doing a whole lot of nothing.

But watching other people do just what I do opened my eyes. It made me feel like I can do better. We can all do better. It was a wake-up call.

Because as an observer, I watched the look in the kids’ eyes.

The look in the eye of the 3-year-old hoping mom would watch him jump in and then the resignation, realizing he was on his own.

The kid at the zoo that just wanted to stare at the giraffes for a few more minutes, but whose mom was walking forward without him, chuckling at a text from a friend.

The look in the eyes of the kid at the grocery store that wants to point out something they see to their mom, but who can’t compete with the phone in the hand.

I am sure my kids have had that very look in their eyes at one point or another.

Let me stop and say I am all for being a free range parent. I tell my kids to go play on a regular basis and I believe this is a necessary and healthy thing to do. I don’t helicopter or lawn mow my kids, or whatever the newest over hovering parenting thing is. I agree kids need room to be kids and parents need time to just be, without being on all the time. 10 minutes of connecting on Facebook with a friend can be my lifeline to sanity.

And for the record, “Watch this!” gets old fast at the pool for me too.

But we live in times of ultimate distractions. Our phones. Our computers. Our exhaustion from trying to do everything. It can swallow us up if we let it.

10 minutes on Facebook turns into an hour. A text to a friend leads to checking an email and then sending 5 more. Taking time at home to relax and read a couple articles on our phone can lead to not even realizing we are continuing to do these same things when we are at the zoo and the grocery store or when our kids are looking to us for US.

This is why my observations gnaw at me.

Because there are limits.

Because there are lessons.

This weekend my lesson was this: We must look up.

There is a time and a place and a way to disconnect and it might not be in the middle of the zoo.

We need to look up from our cell phones and our computers and whatever that thing is that is distracting us and we need to see what is really important.

Because it crushes me to think of the amount of times in a day I say things like, “I’ve just got to finish this text.”

“Hold on…I’m doing something.”

Or, “Hmmmm…yup. Sounds good,” when I have no idea what on earth this kid just said because YouTube can be hilarious.

And all my kids can see is the top of my head.

Because I am looking down. At my phone. At my computer. At a book. At something that will always be there.

When our kids won’t.

And yet somehow I cannot be bothered to look up at them and into their eyes?

We are missing it, you guys. We are missing the moments and we are missing a chance to be our best selves.

Look up and see the look in their eyes as they long for you to see them.

Look up and see that this time together is so fleeting.

Look up and look into their eyes.

Look up and look ahead.

It is almost over. Whether they are 2 or 12, it is almost the end of the time you have with them. How do we want to spend that time? The choice is ours to make each and every day.

This time is so short and it all goes so fast. We hear this over and over because it is so heartbreakingly true.

So look up my friends.

Put down the phone. Close your computer. And really live this beautiful life….even the parts that don’t feel beautiful. Because either way, missing it is never the choice we want to make.

 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Amy Betters-Midtvedt

Amy Betters-Midtvedt is a writer, educator, mom of 5 crazy kids, wife to a patient husband, and lover of Jesus. She writes along with her friend and former teaching partner Erin over at Hiding in the Closet With Coffee. Our mission is to help parents find sanity and joy, and we know sometimes joy is found hiding out in the closet with coffee, or hiding out on Facebook — come and join us both! You can read more about us here. You can also find us hiding out over at InstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

Dear Teachers, Thank You Will Never Be Enough

In: Kids, Living
Kids hugging teacher

Growing up a teacher’s daughter has given me a lifetime of appreciation for educators. Of course, it’s true; I may be biased. I’ve been fortunate to have learned and been guided by many outstanding teachers, including my mother and grandmother, who passed those legacy skills onto my daughter, who strongly feels teaching is her calling. But if you’ve had your eyes and ears open in recent years, you, too, probably feel deep gratitude for the angels among us who work in the school system. So, as the school year ends, and on behalf of parents, grandparents, and anyone who loves...

Keep Reading

Before You, Boy, I Never Knew

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three boys playing in creek, color photo

Before you, boy, I never knew that little boys could get so dirty. Play so rough. Climb so high. Assess your risks. Make me hold my breath. Messes everywhere.   Before you, boy, I never knew how much my lap will make room for you. My arms will stretch to swallow you up in endless hugs and just hold you close. And love you to the moon and back. And back again. Snuggling and snuggling.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything Before you, boy, I never knew that there would be so much wrestling. And superheroes, and far-off...

Keep Reading

It Hurts Seeing My Kid as a B-List Friend

In: Friendship, Kids, Teen
Teen girl sitting alone on a dock

Kids everywhere are celebrating, or will be celebrating soon. They will be playing outside, enjoying warm summer days, bike rides with friends, and maybe even sleepovers. It’s summer—it’s fun, right? Sure, it is. And sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it isn’t fun for the kids you least expect it from. We have that issue, and I knew it was building for the past few weeks with our teenage daughter. She was moody (moodier than normal). Short tempered. Obviously frustrated, but not ready to talk about it. But it was when she came home on the last day of school, in tears,...

Keep Reading

Dear Hunter’s Mom, What I Really Want to Say

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding toddler boy, color photo

Hi, I’m Krystal. I’ve wanted to say that every Tuesday and Thursday when I see you in the preschool hallway. I don’t know why I never say it. It might be because I’m afraid to. Maybe you just want to get the drop-off over with and get out of there. I get it. Hunter is crying . . . hard. People are looking . . . they always look. Your face is flushed, your jacket twisted. You are caught between trying to do what you are supposed to do and what you want to do. I can tell. I know...

Keep Reading

5 Money Tips to Set Your Kids Up for a Strong Financial Future

In: Grown Children, Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Father putting quarters in child's hand

As parents, we want to see our children become independent, but the transition to financial independence has unique challenges. I get it. I have three children of my own, and each of them deals with money differently. The transition can be especially difficult if you are a family that doesn’t talk openly about money. Regardless of whether money has been an open topic in the past, as your high school graduate moves on to the next chapter in their life, it’s important to help them start thinking about their financial future. College tuition, rent, and other expenses can be overwhelming...

Keep Reading

Don’t Tell an Anxious Child to Calm Down—Help Them Do It

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Child sitting against a wall with head in hands

She comes to me with teary eyes, a shaky voice, and stomping feet, “This is dumb! Everything is terrible! I’m never going to school again!” My 13-year-old daughter is prone to drama. It doesn’t take much for her to fly off the handle these days. One minute she’s happily crafting at the table and the next moment her mood has made such a drastic change I have whiplash from it. My first response is to say the easiest—and least helpful—words, “Just calm down.” But I know from my own experience that those words have never helped anyone just calm down....

Keep Reading

I’m Raising a Child Who Only Goes Full Speed

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl in yellow dress and sunglasses, color photo

If you’ve ever spent more than five minutes with my daughter, you will quickly see that she is always at a 10. Calm is not in her vocabulary or her existence in any form. From the moment her eyes open, she is on the move. Mentally, physically, all of it. Bedtime is when she shares her deepest thoughts and asks the kinds of questions no parent wants to deal with at the end of the day. And then, after what feels like hours of questions and songs, she’s on the fast track to dreamland and not even an earthquake could...

Keep Reading

I’m Still a Boy Mom Even Though I Had Girl

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom with son and daughter laughing outside

I am a boy mom. I’ve lovingly held that title since 2014 when my first son joined our family. My second and third children were also boys, which secured my moniker. Boys are great! The rough and rowdy energy to play in the dirt, climb trees, and make engine noises for every moving thing fits my personality. I love being a boy mom!  For six and a half years, I was only a boy mom. But when other parents talked about ponies and princesses, I didn’t feel left out. Trucks and dirt filled my heart so there was no room...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergartner, This Is Just the Beginning

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl with backpack, color photo

To my future kindergartner, I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that I really just wrote those words. It’s hard to grasp that your last day of walking out our door and into your little Pre-K class is coming faster than we think. But it’s almost here and there are a few things I need you to know even if you don’t fully understand them. Things that go further than ABCs and snack time. Know that you are brave. You are probably one of the bravest humans I have ever met. Your fearlessness is often the leading...

Keep Reading

Admitting Your Child Needs More Help than You Can Give Is Brave

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Young woman looking out rainy window

It had been nearly a year, and despite my best efforts and constant prayers, the tumultuous relationship with my daughter continued to be on a downward spiral.  I never knew what side of her I would get, some days she was the little girl I had always known, but most days she was a stranger. There were days at a time she refused to get out of bed, filled with little energy she was irritable, angry, and hostile. Followed by days at a time when she wouldn’t sleep, conversations with her were jumbled, and she spoke too quickly to keep up. She...

Keep Reading