Whoa. Parenting is on my mind. A lot. This is the season in which I find myself.

My predominant love language is acts of service. What a blessing that is, to combine my natural tendencies with my husband’s quality time and physical touch, expression of love. And gifts.

We don’t speak exclusively one language. We mix and match. And we go out of our comfort zone to speak another’s language. The girls are fluent in all love languages and show and receive love with adorable vulnerability.

We switched the bedroom around, and we have room for all the games and toys in boxes under the girls’ beds. They are easy to reach, to play in the middle of the large room on the light colored carpet. And easy to put away. Conrad does the dishes often abs vacuums without prompting.

And I make time and put myself into the mood to get down on my knees and play with legos, or taste their play food.

Today I was making soup and asked the girls if they want to help. They peeled potatoes and carrots and cut onions. Ah, their joy and pride eating lunch after contributing to cooking it! I was patient in guiding them (it’s not easy to watch both of them handing sharp tools) and happy to see them try so hard and be cautious.

Yesterday was so hard. I felt so drained by their emotions and needs or requests. But I stopped fighting it. I let it pass through me, and observe my journey while observing them.

At bed time, after an hour of last snack, teeth brushing, pajamas on, extra playing on the beds, reading stories, singing songs, rubbing backs, I said good night. Sure enough, ivy asked as she usually does: “Stay with me!” Half the time I bring a book and I sit on the armchair waiting for them to settle down, answering random questions that cross their tired minds, remind them to be quiet. That in itself is exhausting on certain days.

So last night I said: “ladies, we had a full lovely evening together. I loved every moment with you. We had fun and you are settled down now. When I say goodnight I need you to respond with a similar tone and not start whining. I need to recharge in silence for a few minutes. Both looked at me with big eyes. And after a moment of consideration they smiled back and said good night.

They didn’t know! They had no idea what my expectations were. What I needed. I never spoke as clearly as I did then, apparently. Because the second night around I didn’t have to explain myself nor feel the burden of guilt for saying good night and leaving the room. I slept so much better too!

I’d give my life for them. I’d take upon myself their pain, or fears. But there are times, when the best thing I can do for them is to let them grow strong by facing my own boundaries. And teach them by example to set good boundaries with others.

I picture a time in the not so distant future when I’ll have time and energy to focus on my career. Meanwhile I am learning and practicing so much by being a mom.