Tis the season of giving.  Advertisers certainty want you to believe that giving = stuff; however, no one I know needs more stuff, especially, not my kids.  Several articles have been circulating about “experiences” you can give your kids instead, or asking family members for swim lessons instead of a toy etc.  But, giving can be deeper than that and more sincere.

What I vow to give my kids this holiday season, (and cross your fingers, hopefully forever) is that I am really going to focus on being present and being nice.

It’s so hard to be nice to my kids sometimes.  I’m good at being nice to total strangers, but to my kids… the tiny people I love most, I really stink at it.

Here is a glimpse into EVERY day:   “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mommy, mama, mom.”  “Mom, mooooooooom, moooooooooooom.”   “Yes darling, what?”   “Mom, can I tell you something.”   “Yes, anything.”  “I forgot.  Wait… I remembered.  Okay, Mom, so …..”    OH MY GOSH, JUST TELL ME ALREADY.

This happens about a hundred times a day in my house.  Approximately 92 times, I’m patient and kind.  About 8 times, I yell back.  “WHAT?!?!  WHAT. DO. YOU. NEED!?!”  That’s not nice.  92% might be an A, but it’s not good enough for my kids.  I need to do better.  I am going to do better.

Same thing with bed time.   “Mom, can I have one more hug?  ONE MORE.  One more kiss.  ONE MORE.  No not yet, I’m not snuggled up just right yet. Wait, I need my stuffed animal.  Now I can have my kiss goodnight. I have to pee.   Okay, back in bed, this cheek too.”   [MY HEAD IS EXPLODING]  I smile.  I say “I love you.”  I walk out.  Hand touches the door….”Mooooom, one more kiss!!!”  [BOOM. OMGOSH].

I’ve said “no” before. I’ve said “no more kisses!”  What kind of a monster does that?!?  Well, a monster that is exhausted, has to pee, still has to clean up dinner and one who has done this two other times already.  Yeah putting three kids to bed.  Woo.  Olympic sport.   Still, it’s no excuse.  My mom would be so mad at me.  I will do better. I will be patient.  I will be nice.

This is the gift I have to give my kids this year.  They don’t need more toys.  They don’t need more stuff.  They need us.  They need their mom and dad to be there and play with them and give them 1,000 last kisses goodnight if that’s what it takes to make them feel loved and safe and secure.

Oy, and PLAYING WITH THEM!  Why??? I’m tired.  I’m hungry.  I feel like I haven’t done anything for me.  Then my kids want me to sit and read them stories or play games with them.  It’s so easy for me to tell them to go play with each other so I can continue cooking dinner, or finish up some work, or escape in facebook for a bit.  But when I stop and really give them all of my attention and just play with them – whatever they want – their faces LIGHT up.  They don’t fight with each other.  They are happier.  This is what they are craving.  They don’t want half of my attention while I’m sitting on the couch going through e-mail looking up every few minutes to see the progress on their lego tower.  I wouldn’t do that to another adult, why is it okay to do that to my kids?

But it’s so hard.  I don’t want to play legos or dolls or read “Dragons Love Tacos” for the ten billionth time.  I want to close my eyes and rest or at least get something done.  It’s the type A in me.  I need to be doing something all the time, and playing just doesn’t check that box off my list.  But what if I reframed that and instead of “playing legos” I was helping to build happy kids and establish open communication so that my kids know they can come to me at any time for anything and I will be there for them 100%.  Because I’m not just playing with them, I’m investing in them and in our relationship.

So instead of presents, this holiday season, I am going to BE present and I am going to be NICE.  I am going to be nice to myself and I am going to be nice to my kids.  (I’m always nice to my husband, so we’re good there.  Ha!)  It may not be easy, but it really doesn’t take much effort to be nice.

I think the world would be a better place if people were just nice; everyone’s heart would be a little lighter filled with more brightness and less heaviness.

May your heart be light this holiday season, and I wish for all of your days to be merry and bright.

With love,

Angie & Dr. Cap