Things been rather quiet on the blog lately. Like the rest of the nation, I was busy trying to catch up on the rallies, commentaries, videos and articles every evening after work during the past 9 days of campaigning. On some nights, I was so caught up that I told Sophie to play or read on her own, which she didn’t take well to of course.
Then work got hectic. I was busy preparing for a campaign which had its fair share of challenges, fire fighting and road blocks that by the end of the day, all I could muster was “my brains are fried” to Alexis and something along the lines of pass me some chocolate cake.
Despite the tiredness from work and the lack of sleep, there was still chores to be done and mummy duties to fulfill. Not the most exciting part of my day when all I want to do is zone out which I’m sure fellow working mums can identify with, but hey that’s life right?
Of course, in the most ideal situation, Sophie would be understanding and leave mummy to space out after work while she plays or read on her own. Instead she demanded for my attention and asked for it in the whinest voice.
And somehow you’re so tired, even a whimper sounds like nails scratching on a blackboard, what more her incessant whining. Soon her raised decibels became more irritable and before I knew it voices got raised, tempers were elevated, unkind words were spoken and we saw tears.
“Inside every child is an ‘emotional tank’ waiting to be filled with love. When a child really feels loved, he will develop normally, but when the love tank is empty, the child will misbehave. Much of the misbehavior of children is motivated by the cravings of an empty ‘love tank.’” -Gary Chapman
I’ll like to defend myself and say that it’s not my fault that she got me on a bad day but who am I kidding? Sure, I’m exhausted after work but all she wants is just half an hour of my time in the evening but I was glued to the news and mobile phone as I scrolled through the feeds on the elections campaign.
She may not have met my expectations of what I wished. But in the very same breathe, I also failed in her expectations of what a mummy should be doing.
For kids, love is spelled T.I.M.E.
When the kids’ emotional love tank is empty, they will try to get it filled. And that means attempting to get our attention sometimes at the most inconvenient time.
I may like to think that since I can’t have quantity time then I’ll make it up with quality time. But if I’m truly honest with myself, I’ll recognise that even the time I spend with her sometimes doesn’t even make the cut for quality time.
One evening I decided that this must stop. If I were to keep brushing her off, she’ll start to think that she doesn’t matter and gosh how that must break her little heart. I tried this method which I read from Dirt and Booger and asked her for a good 20 minutes to catch up on my news before I was ready to play with her.
So I set on the timer and after 20 minutes when the alarm rang, she appeared in front of me and asked, “Now, are you ready to play with me?” It worked like a charm and I was ready to give her my undivided attention as she invited me to play family time and ended the night with a bed time story before I tucked her into bed.
Some days, I still get shot with a “Mummy put your handphone away” from this little girl but thankfully she’s very very forgiving. But I’m not taking my chances and taking her for granted. I just have to remind myself that it wouldn’t be very long more before she’s too cool for mummy. But for now, she’s not outgrown my lap or arms and I intend to keep it that way for as long as I can.
Kids don’t expect to do very fancy things to spend quality time. Most of the time, she’s happy to have me play lego, fix jig saw or indulge in her imaginary games or just reading to her. There are times of course, when I take leave to take her out when the CC is closed and once I even snuck her out of the CC for lunch to surprise her. She was so so thrilled and almost didn’t want t go back.
Just never fall into the trap that kids need more toys and stuff to fill their lives especially when guilt takes over because at the end of the day it’s YOU they want 🙂
What do you do to fill your child’s emotional love tank?