***Please note, this post does NOT contain spoilers***
Over half term I got to go to the cinema with The Big Guy (aged 7) and The Middle Guy (aged 4) to watch the new 3D computer-animated movie Storks.
First of all, I must say that it was massively refreshing to watch a children’s movie where no parents die at the start (what is it with the majority of children’s movies featuring the death of one or both parents?? Finding Nemo, The Lion King, Frozen… the list goes on and on!) Yes, one of the main characters is an 18-year-old girl who never got to meet her parents, and you can stop for a moment and think about the sadness of 18 years of parent-child relationship having been missed out on (yes, that’s bad), but when you watch the movie it’s not as bad as it sounds…
Anyway, do you know what I’m talking about when I say that the minute you start learning how to drive or start studying for your theory test, all of a sudden all you can see when you drive around in other people’s cars are road signs? Well, lately I’ve been getting the same feeling about mindfulness and affirmations.
I see reminders everywhere.
Everywhere I turn, there it is, an uncalled-for reminder to be more present, more mindful and to be sure to use kind, positive language. Do I all of a sudden see it everywhere because it’s a change I’m trying to introduce into my life? Has it always been there, and I missed it all along? Or am I just fitting into a muuuuuuch bigger trend, where we’re all going to end up regretting it?
Either way, there’s a very sweet message in this movie around enjoying our children while they’re small, and it really really hit home.
One of the main characters of the movie is Nate, a sweet little boy who loves his ninja moves and tricks and is dying to spend some more time with his workaholic parents. Like many others children who end up teaching their parents a thing or two (see Nemo who teaches his dad to let go and trust him), Nate is wise enough to remind his parents that he’s a little boy who wants to play, and his parents better spend this time with him now, because before they know it, he’ll be a stroppy teenager who wants to be left alone, locked away in his bedroom.
Doesn’t the message hit home with most of us?
We’re probably not on the same level as Nate’s parents, two working-from-home estate agents who set office up in their kitchen and never, ever stop working. BUT, how many times have I said to my children that I can’t play right now because I’m cooking, or doing the laundry, or cleaning / tidying up, or attending their little brother etc.? How many times have I said that I’ll play later or when I’ve finished doing what I’m doing, and then ‘later’ never seems to come because the next thing on the to-do list has come along?
It’s not that I prefer to do chores to spending time with my children. It’s just that to-do lists stress me out. If I know I have a long list ahead of me, I just want to get it done. I just want the list to disappear and stop thinking about it. If I sit down and play I end up being distracted – my mind isn’t really with the dinosaur or ball game I’m playing – I’m thinking about what I need to be doing or about the fact that the time to do x, y, z is approaching, and I need to get on with it.
That’s not mindful living.
That’s not living in the now.
That’s not ‘enjoying your children while they are young and want to spend time with you’!
But… I’ve been a lot better at this lately, and last week I went to the movies with my two older boys to enjoy a movie, and we did. I switched my phone off, forgot about everything else, and we enjoyed the movie together. Everything else would still be there at the end of the movie – no need to think about it.
Then the movie reminded me to spend time with my children, and, may I add, to enjoy spending time with my children.
They interrupted me at least 4 times while I was writing this blog – mainly because they needed something or other, but one of the interruptions involved The Middle Guy asking me the question: “Mamma, are you blind without your glasses?”, so I closed the laptop, looked at him, and we had a good conversation about glasses and what I need them for. That was until he was satisfied with my answer, shrugged his shoulders (as he does) and hopped off, back out to the garden to ‘help’ his dad.
So I want to thank the creators of Storks for reminding me not to miss this precious time with my wonderful young boys.
Because they will be stroppy teenagers one day (still wonderful, I know), and I’ll miss the sweet little cuddles and the days when you can kiss them better and make everything ok with a big hug (most of the time).
So I’m going to enjoy playing with them.
They grow up too fast.
Time is flying too fast.
And I don’t want to miss out.