When I was a teenager, I did a lot of babysitting. There was a constant rotation of 4-5 families that I spent most every weekend with. I loved those kids. I loved their parents. I loved my time with them. They made me long for the day I would have kids of my own.
Then, I did have kids of my own. And, it was just as great as I had imagined. I love my boys so much. They perfectly fit into our lives. Having them as part of our family has just been easy. But, as Jonah hit Kindergarten, I was faced with a new experience. PLAY DATES! I was used to the play dates that involved other kids and their parents but Kindergarten brought play dates where it was just other children...without their parents.
I quickly realized that was a different dynamic. Their rules weren't the same as ours. Their manners weren't the same as ours. Their expectations weren't the same as ours. They didn't always pick up after themselves. They don't always like the snacks I have. They don't always enjoy the activities I have planned. So, sometimes I found it was more difficult to "enjoy" other kids that aren't mine. But, Jonah LOVES having friends over and I always want to be the house that he wants to be at AND that his friends want to come to. So, I worked really hard to look past all of the frustrations and just enjoy little boys playing here. But, it wasn't always easy.
Then, just this morning, I read this article! Wowzers! I'm so glad I did. What a boost to my spirit. I have such wonderful memories of a few mothers of my friends who made me feel just that way. Some of those ladies invested so much in my life. I'm forever grateful to them. I want to be that for the friends of my boys. I want our home to be a loving environment where they are free to be themselves. I want them to be comfortable being themselves. Maybe if that starts at age 6, we will be people they trust at age 16.
If I want our home to be the place where all the kids want to be, then it is up to me to make it that way. Regardless of the mess. Or the noise. Or the smell! (Seriously, how do little boys smell so bad??) So, 2013 will find me working on this. More playdates. Less stress about keeping a clean house while they are here!