Pushing All the Wrong Buttons

The other day I was looking at a VCR. I can hardly believe this is a relic of the past, an antique, something that makes me feel dated though it’s really not that outdated…right? Anyway, for those who may be too young to know what a VCR looks like, there’s a picture above.

Notice the panel of buttons. Relatively speaking the same buttons still exist on CD, DVD and Blu Ray players still. However, they really struck me in the midst of my parenting journey. These buttons translate into parenting. And, unfortunately, the buttons that I tend to push are not the right ones. Let me explain.

as the years pass so quickly, I oftentimes pine for when my kids were littler. I can even lovingly ask my kids to stop growing up and stay little…or even go back to being babies. I’m sure you’ve all thought or said this before, right? Even if the baby phase was rough for you, seeing your babies grow up is not always easy. I just want to rewind to relive or even redo parenting my babies.

or I can err on the opposite end fast forwarding to the future. The activities that they engage in, advice that I give, and prayers uplifted to God are for their precious futures. Who will they become? What will they do for a career? When will they start to date and then get married? Today is all preparation for tomorrow and what lies ahead. But how often do I catch myself getting stuck in this far-off dreamy future of things to come?

and yes, on the daily, I simply want to push eject…not permanently but momentarily in the fits of tantrums, tired, and talking about. It would be nice to just take a break from parenting and let someone else deal with my little monsters…I mean gifts. The days are long…

but the years are short. Yes, the days are long and filled with emotions, activities, and conversations. But the long days are also filled with precious moments to cherish, hold tightly to, and simply enjoy. My “play button” can be unused because I am so dialed into doing. The VCR was a quick reminder to stop the tasks and BE with my kids. If they want to play with me, the answer needs to be a resounding, “YES!” as opposed to “in a minute” or “not right now.” After all, the play requests will wane over time so I cannot miss these captive opportunities.

and definitely the most rusty of the VCR buttons in my parenting life is the “pause” button. By nature, I am just a busy person…not for the sake of busyness but rather the pace of my mind, body, and lifestyle. This does not necessarily mean it is “good” just how I was raised and operate. However, for the energy and joy to persist in the midst of busyness I must ironically schedule into each day some “pause.” Otherwise, I find myself sucked dry and exhausted from the day’s events and emotions. Pressing pause is not only a nicety but a necessity.

so my encouragement would be to quite literally stop for a moment. Reflect and assess your parenting journey buttons. Which buttons need to stop getting pushed? Which ones need to be used more often? If you’re like me, find a way to press “play” and “pause” intentionally today, tomorrow, and thereafter.