I Did This – I’m With The #HappyMamas

The quiet is almost deafening upstairs. Occasionally I hear soft stocking feet running down the hall, a giggle, or a door quietly shutting. But for nearly three hours it’s been silent.


If you are a mother of three, this could cause concern. The long quiet. Concern enough to go check on your children – are they free of blood, teeth intact, room not on fire, alive. But I never went up there. With three kids I expect at least one will be able to scream down for help in case the other two are dealing with blood or fire or broken teeth.


It’s our fifth day off school over a span of just two weeks. We’ve spent a lot of time together. A lot of time inside our home together. A lot of time not being able to safely play outside. A lot of time dragging out every toy, book, game, crayon, and snack we own.


And besides an hour in the morning as the zombies stare at the TV while they shovel in frozen waffles, or the hour at night when we catch-up on Dance Moms together or watch reruns of Sam And Cat – the TV is off, the iPad isn’t touched, and my computer is my computer.


The girls are brushing doll hair, putting on fashion shows, making pictures, having pretend picnics, and going through drawers of stuffed animals that haven’t been unearthed in years. Together.


And frankly some of the time I haven’t even known what they were doing because they were playing. Without me near. For hours. By themselves. Like children should do. Maybe they sat and listened to music and took turns being the lead in a band, or maybe they put on puppet shows, or maybe they told each other jokes. What they did is their own thing. That they created for themselves. In their rooms. And they only came down for dinner when I called them to set the table. And they came down together and laughing. No blood.


I finished my work. It’s one of my busiest weeks at work, and having them home from school weighed heavy on my shoulders and mind as I saw the temperatures plummet. But I had nothing to worry about, because kids have the ability to make their own fun. And play with each other.


I want to whisper this secret to my friends with all little ones at home – that things will get quiet for them one day. That one day their kids will just go play without them building that Lego tower with them(not that I don’t love to do that once in awhile), but when they do need a three hour block to get some work done – their kids can manage that for them..and just go play. Like we once did as kids.


Yet my kids are still all here in our house. We’re still sharing space together. Even though they aren’t tapping on my knee saying “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom…”


And even though my kids are a floor away and not asking me for anything – I am still mothering. In fact  – I did that….I mothered enough so my kids know they can make their own fun and snacks and pick up their toys. I did that. I taught them boundaries and gave them a space to play. I let them know that sometimes mom needs to work and needs quiet, and to respect my time just like I respect a crazy amount of time with them. I taught them to be self-sufficient and to be happy even playing alone or with a sister for more than 10 minutes. I did this.


Watching your kids move away from you because they know how and can, is still mothering. Being a good mother did this. Being a good mother doesn’t have to be defined by how many games you played with them or how many plays you acted out. Being a good mother also means that they can go off for hours to create their own plays, but being there when they’re ready to perform.


Galit and I were chatting and having a glass of wine together. We sat close and laughed about many things as we talked…we really talked, and finished sentences. We were out together bowling with our families…TEN PEOPLE..and bowling in a LOUD bar. And yet we sat and drank wine and heard each other. We talked about writing and work and sure, kids.


And those SIX kids were just feet away from us, but they were bowling and talking and laughing and playing all by themselves. They never came to talk to us or ask for anything. They managed their own food and drinks. They took their turns and kept their own scores and just did what kids do.


We’ve done it. We’ve reached this sweet spot in mothering. Where the kids are old enough to do so much(nearly everything) on their own, and you can do things you enjoy parallel to them(like talking with a dear friend) – because they are still there. There – feet or a floor from you – but still with you. This sweet age when they can do for themselves yet they are still with you and not away with friends.


Dear friends – this is such a sweet time right now. I cherish this moment of motherhood before it flees too. Like all of the moments mothering do. Mothering has its beautiful and hard moments – the moments you miss and the one you don’t once they are gone – but I’m holding this now of motherhood tight.


This moment where my kids are here. But just not right here all of the time.


This was written as a Happy Mama Moment. A group of 12 moms have formed a Happy Mother Movement for 2014. Each month you can join us and link up with your Happy Mama Moment, inspired by Dude Mom.

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About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at tracy@sellabitmum.com

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  1. says

    Wow this moment sounds pretty magical. yet very scary and odd to me! It’s hard to imagine that moment when I’m in the midst of the “I need you to do everything” moment with all three of my kids. Although my soon to be 5 year old is getting closer to that moment. I see glimpses every now and then and it feels pretty darn good!!
    Mindi Stavish recently posted..Macro Photography: Vol 1

  2. samm says

    You have described exactly what good solid parenting is about. 🙂 I have witnessed children who cannot play by themselves, can’t amuse themselves. They’ve been entertained their whole lives, in classes, not allowed outside to play. They don’t learn the skills you’ve encouraged in your girls. Great job! 🙂

  3. says

    Love this. The Dudes play separately from me mostly. I mean they are all in school, they clearly don’t need me monitoring them every moment of their lives. I’d venture to guess that we wind up with more broken teeth and fires here though. Probably because puppet show and rock band are never on the agenda but super hero villain death match and psycho basketball always are.
    Dude Mom recently posted..Happy Mama Movement. Mission Be Happy.

  4. says

    I have this coming around the corner, I know that and reading this gives me some resolve to get through. My girls are still in need of my intervention here and there (they tend to be a catty bunch from time to time) and help getting their snacks and drinks. But, it depends on the drink they’d like – milk from a fresh gallon – needs mommy. Water? They can get their cup from the drawer and hit up the fridge. So, we’re almost there and you’re right, as you gain momentum on those more independent years it feels good.
    Nicole @MTDLBlog recently posted..When it is Hard to be Happy

  5. says

    I’m not quite there yet, but I think I see the light. Thank you for this perspective. Although I look forward to the freedom you describe, there’s still a part of me that will always miss talking to a friend as my baby sleeps in my chest:(.
    Allie recently posted..Random January Post

  6. says

    Yes! I am so guilty of twisting my kids’ ability to do things themselves into a failure of my not having done it for them. Printing this and keeping it close. xo Thank you!
    Amanda recently posted..Self, Easy

  7. says

    Ain’t no wine like bowling alley wine!

    p.s. Not every mother has raised her kids to be so independent so BRAVO. And when people warn you (as I’m sure they already have but it will become more and more frequent as your girls grow older) that they will TURN ON YOU and become crazy creatures, don’t believe it. My girl is gold. GOLD. Even when she’s PMSing. shhhh.
    julie gardner recently posted..The Space Between

    • says

      Cheap wine in a plastic cup – yep, nothin’ better. I love your girl…but wait, I’m confused…my girls are going to start their periods????? WHAT????? xo

  8. says

    Do you know how much I love bowling? And the drinks that come with it? That sounds amazing! I have had a few magical moments where my kids just play together and unless the girls get into the makeup it is awesome! Love the Happy Mama movement!
    Brittany recently posted..Just a Boy and His Robot

  9. says

    Your daughters playing together like that was my dream as a child, for ME! I smiled so big at that photo. You know, I grew up with 3 older brothers BUT I had 4 (or 5) pretend sisters. Oh yes I did! I “played” with them in my room A LOT! ha!

    And yes, you’ve done a fine job and that is why you can relax now. I do like this “sweet spot”… 🙂
    Elaine A. recently posted..The Happy Mama Movement Begins!

  10. says

    Well how much do I love this? It’s so lovely to see some happy things out there on the interwebs. Some moments to cherish and love. There is far too much of the negative these days and this? Well this is awesome. I will be linking up for sure!
    Katie recently posted..Snow Daze

    • says

      Oh I am so glad you are going to link up. Motherhood is so miraculous – even on messy days. I’m so happy to celebrate it. xo

  11. says

    I can’t wait to witness sweet sibling moments like this. Beautiful post, Tracy and here’s to 1000’s more happy mama moments. xoxo
    Tonya recently posted..Countdown

  12. says

    This spoke to me. At home, we’re pretty much the same way (although the little one for not as long) and it’s so nice. And I feel no guilt about that, though some people try to make it seem like always playing with your kids is the only good way to parent.
    Greta recently posted..Four Years Old #iPPP

  13. says

    Oh I love this so much Tracy. I struggle with this sometimes. I think that I tend to be more hands off in my mothering, wanting my kids to find their own way while still mothering them. My husband is much more hands on and it’s been an interesting dynamic at times. Neither good nor bad but finding that balance between letting them go and doing everything right there with them has been tough. But this magical moment? LOVE and love the confidence and grace that your girls have which you have brought out in them.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..On Teaching

  14. says

    My twins can do this sometimes….and when they let Piper do it along w/ them (and when she doesn’t mind being away from me), it’s like a little slice of heaven.

    I love that you and Galit got this time together, and that your kids have reached this sweet spot all at the same time. While I love (and hate) having a two-year-old again (something I never thought I’d see/experience after all of our infertility woes/hurdles), it will be nice when she is older as well…

    I love the point you make too, about how good mothering isn’t about how many games you played with them that day, or how much hands-on time you spent. We moms do LOTS of other things all day long and definitions don’t have to be so black and white (something I’m trying to teach myself, thanks to my new therapist).

    erin marglin recently posted..The Blame Game

  15. says

    We are at the same place. But then, our kids are close in age. I think that that plays a role. I LOVE watching my kids do something alone like a puzzle. It’s like I can see their brains working. My middle daughter still plays pretend. I love it. She sings quite a bit but she ain’t botherin’ me when she does it, so I’m good. But you’re absolutely right: You did this.
    Arnebya recently posted..Clap Along

  16. says

    It is a sweet spot when they start being more independent and you can take them to a park and let them roam free without strapping a helmet on them and then embarrassing yourself as you make the best impression of a monkey who’s begging for a banana to keep them happy.
    I only have the one so I’m still the main pal when he’s bored and I honestly don’t mind at all. He’s our only one and will be because of medical issues so I’m stealing all these moments while I can (while I’m still considered cool and junk).
    Kimberly recently posted..Hanging With Jesus In Our Funeral Pants