Our working week is hectic.
Sometimes I feel like a 1950s Housewife, Mother and Husband all rolled into one.
Working Lone Wolves have it all. We are responsible for our children, our job, our home, our bills, our gardens, our cars, our food, our washing….. and always lastly, ourselves.
Sometimes, I feel like the moment I wake up in the morning, until the moment I close my eyes at night (and even then- sickness and rascallishness mean that sleeping through isn’t a given) my world is a whirlwind of responsibility. Every single aspect our world is managed by me. Sometimes I feel guilty about not being able to give Zahara enough of my time. I try to involve her in as much as possible- but sometimes, at the end of a long working week, its quicker and easier and less stressful to encourage Zahara to entertain herself, so I can get it done alone.
Zahara has been in dancing lessons since she was 20 months old. Not because I wanted her to be the next Maddie Ziegler (Lord knows that’s never going to happen) but because I loved having that time with her- every weekend- where someone else planned the technicalities and we got to connect. For 20 minutes every Saturday morning, nothing else existed except us- and our horrible dance moves. Our ‘unplugged time’. No phone. No distractions. No washing, dishes, cleaning, jobs. No TV. Just Us.
Zahara doesn’t realise that we are Christchurch’s most ungraceful swans. Her face lights up as she holds my hand and she relishes our time together. These days she’s happy checking in with me every so often. She’ll do a ‘drive-by’ cuddle or flash me a huge grin. She always checks to see that I’m looking and beams when I praise her. She loves being a good girl and bounces up and down with excitement when she can see how proud I am of her.
I was thrilled, recently, when My First Gym asked us to come and try a few lessons with them. I love the philosophy behind My First Gym- to inspire movement in a safe and fun environment.
Hara has found her niche! What an incredible place. She loves it. The smile on her face as she accomplishes a new skill is my favourite sight each week. Now that she is older, our ‘unplugged’ time has changed. It used to be time where I would help her with each movement, or I would walk alongside her as she danced. Now, our unplugged time is time where I focus on what she’s doing, I encourage her to try new things and we celebrate together when she masters a new skill. I’m not distracted by my phone, I’m not worrying about the dishes or the washing or cooking a meal. I am attentive to her and she loves it.
For me, I’m pleased that it’s not another choice to make. The lesson is created and delivered by someone else and trained instructors are on hand to help. The emphasis is always on having fun moving- not on technique- and Zahara stays so engaged. We are at a stage (the terrible twos) where I feel so overwhelmed by nagging and battles and tantrums and it’s a relief to have this time of simple happiness and celebration. . I am by no means a sporty person, either. So I like knowing that Zahara is being taught by someone who can show her all sorts of brand new skills.
Now, to be fair, the first lesson we went to- she stuck to me like glue and was a bit unsure of the whole thing. Next lesson, wanted to do more on her own. Every lesson I can see her improve in confidence in doing it on her own or asking the instructor for help. Her progress in a just a few weeks has been phenomenal. I love watching her as she follows the other girls and runs to them if she think’s they’ve hurt themselves. She’s home alone with me every evening- so I also enjoy seeing her be social and interact with the others. . I’m a working Mum, we miss out on this stuff a lot.
I also take happiness from the fact that I am actively helping my daughter to enjoy movement. In a world where life can be tough, and girls can really struggle, I like knowing that I am giving my daughter a pro-social way to be happy. It’s not food or toys or screen time. She’s loving being active and loving being around others who enjoy it was well. I really like that My First Gym celebrates this idea. Zahara isn’t expected to be the best or the strongest or most graceful. She’s not graded or ranked or assessed. She’s pushed to her limits because she chooses to engage and I love this.
Our Unplugged Time. Just us.
How do you have yours?
You can find the My First Gym website here