My Kids Don’t Always Come First

by Toni Hammer
Originally Published: 
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My kids don’t always come first.

Sometimes I’m in the middle of cooking dinner and I can’t drop what I’m doing to aid my daughter in taking off her shoe which she put on herself for no real reason. Sometimes I’m folding laundry and I make my son wait a few minutes before joining him to play a game of Toddler Tag. Maybe I’m even on the phone and choose to spend a few more minutes wrapping up my conversation before getting my kids a snack.

My children are two of the most important people in my life. They are bright and funny, silly and sassy just like their mom. Even though they’re young, I do my best to instill in them the basics: Manners, forgiveness, kindness, and, yes, patience.

There are a plethora of occasions in an adult’s life where they have to wait. It could be waiting for a bus, waiting for breakfast to arrive when you’re at a diner, or waiting for the next Bob’s Burgers episode to load on Netflix at midnight when you’re devouring a secret sundae in the dark while everyone else is finally asleep. You can’t get around the fact that in society you are asked to wait and I choose to begin teaching this to my children now.

Of course there are instances where my attention is indeed needed immediately. When there is a crash followed by crying. When someone throws up. When angry words and screams are wafting from my kids’ bedroom. And there are also times where I do choose to put away the broom and play with my kids at the exact moment they desire my presence. Or I take off my daughter’s shoe before returning to grating cheese. Or I put the half empty basket of laundry in the bedroom to finish later so I can dance with them to the Curious George theme song.

But I don’t do it every time. I don’t want my kids to believe they are the center of the universe. They’re not.

They are two very special and very important people in my life, but part of my role as a mother is to teach them to be respected, competent, and successful individuals in society. In order to achieve tha goal, they must learn to wait. They must be patient. They must be content to think their own thought until whatever it is they’re waiting for can be completed.

My children don’t always come first and I hope someday they thank me for it.

If not, I hope I can afford their therapy.

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