If you identify as a she works His way woman, I’m betting you thrive on accountability. From your walk with Christ, to your marriage, to your business, and probably even your health and fitness, I’m sure you have several accountability systems in place.
But have you ever sought accountability from your kids?
God has blessed me and my husband, James, with two sons and a new baby girl. Noah is six, Cole is three, and Shea is eight months.
Michelle, they’re so young. What could you possibly get accountability from them about?
Easy. I ask each of my boys (and I’ll start with Shea as soon as she can talk) a very simple question at least once a week:
How do you feel about Mommy’s job?
My wording choice never varies. I don’t want to know what they think about my job, or what they think I actually do. (Even though their answers to that question are pretty hysterical!)
I want to know how my job makes them feel.
About two months ago, Noah (who is my early riser) came downstairs about 5:45 am on a Friday. I normally get out of bed at 5:00 am, start the coffee pot, and then head to my office for my Bible reading and prayer time. Around 6:00, I’ll look at my to-do list for the day, and I’ll typically knock out a few daily tasks before the boys wake up around 6:30 am. So Noah was about 45 minutes ahead of schedule, and I was still finishing up my journaling.
I pulled out a coloring book, gave him a comfy pillow, and got him settled on the crazy comfortable rug under my desk while I went back to my journaling. About 15 minutes later, I figured I couldn’t get much done, so I pulled him up into my lap for one of our “accountability chats.”
“Buddy,” I asked him. “How do you feel about Mommy’s job?”
“Well, he said, kinda softly. “I don’t like it when I wake up and you’re still in your office. I have to leave for school pretty early, so we don’t have much time to be together.”
In that moment, I could have justified my actions. I could have told myself that he had gotten out of bed 45 minutes earlier than normal. And that I technically wasn’t working. I was just journaling after reading God’s Word.
But when I thought about a normal day, I realized I would typically finish up whatever task I was working on before I would come out of my office to fix his breakfast and start our morning routine.
And he’s six. If I’m in my office, he assumes I’m working. And in his defense, it’s not exactly abnormal to find me working with a Bible open on my desk either.
But even if all of the facts checked out, I didn’t ask him about the facts. I asked him how he felt. And in honesty, in his six-year-old way, he told me that he wanted all of the time he could get with me before he left for school each morning. And even if it was just mere minutes, he didn’t want those minutes taken away.
I’m going to call that a mom-win for sure.
I looked him in the eyes and played with his hair. “Noah, I am so sorry. You are right, and I’m going to do better. Tell you what. I’m going to listen for your feet at the top of the stairs. And no matter what I’m doing, as soon as I hear you, I’m going to jump out of my chair, turn off the light, and meet you in the kitchen before you hit the bottom step. Deal?”
“Deal!” he said with a big smile and threw his arms around my neck.
I would have never known the minutes I lingered in my office bothered him if I hadn’t asked. So Momma, even if your kids aren’t old enough to initiate that conversation with you, they might be old enough to voice their feelings. I started asking my boys this question at age two.
The older my kids get, the more in depth I’m sure my questions will become. But for now, this simple question is enough to spark positive changes to make sure my kids don’t just know they are my priority, but that they always feel like the priority over my work.
And due to the frequency of my asking, I pray the day comes that if they ever don’t feel that way, they call me out. Quickly.
So we have a new morning routine, just as I promised Noah. And you know what? I don’t always get as much done in the early morning hours as I used to.
Yet I know a day is coming when I’ll have all the time in the world to tackle my to-do list and drink a cup of coffee while it’s still hot.
But instead of thinking about how awesome that is, I’m sure most days, my mommy heart will ache to hear the little pitter-patter of his feet at the top of the stairs…and he’ll be all grown up, living somewhere else.
But that day is not today.
So I will take my interrupted mornings, full of giggles, snuggles, unintentionally iced coffee, and my sweet six-year-old boy who treasures his mornings with his mommy before school.
And each week, I’ll ask the same question, so I get more moments just like it.