I wrote a while back about how I'd Rather Not Play With My Children and I felt like that was a hot topic for a lot of you moms out there, which I absolutely love because it just solidifies that it truly does "take a village!" Am I right? However, as liberating as that was to admit and to have so much social backing, it doesn't negate the continued guilt I feel on a daily basis.
I think most parents right off the bat know exactly what I'm talking about. And for me, the guilt can be so tangible at times that it often stunts my ability to parent the way I know I was created to. It's funny because, when we learn we are about to become parents we quickly want to read all these books on "how to be the perfect parent" when in reality there is, 1. no such thing, 2. no clear understanding of what it even means to be a parent, and 3. a complete unawareness of the fact that we were each made so differently and no one parenting method is "the end all, be all."
No disrespect to all the great advice out there in the world, but I sometimes feel that we sell ourselves short so often in life. We don't trust ourselves our own instincts (yes, those actually do exist) or the fact that we can actually be great at something without first being told "how to" do something. When we don't know something, we run to google; when we don't know the directions, we plug them into our GPS; when we don't know how to operate a power tool, we read manuals like "Power Tools For Dummies" (ok maybe I'm stretching it here a little bit, but you get the picture!).
So here I was, this past Wednesday, spending an entire day devoted to being intentional with my children and I truly felt like I was doing a really good job. I was playing card games, conducting wrestling matches, writing ridiculous songs about the rain with my four year old and playing them on my guitar; I was even playing pretend for heavens sake! I mean I would have probably given myself a gold star that day if I could have...just saying' I was totally killin' it at the whole "mom thing."
But then all the sudden I started noticing something, one thing led to another thing, and this activity led to that activity, and quickly all my "feel good" feelings became "feel bad" feelings. It seemed like the more effort I put into being "intentional" with my parenting, the more it became not enough.
If I said I would play for 30 minutes and ended up playing for 45, it still wasn't enough; if I told them best 3 out of 5 on this card game, it wasn't enough; if I played that song 12 dozen times, it still wasn't enough. And by the end of the day I was exhausted from the whiplash effect I was experiencing. I was thinking..."wait a minute, shouldn't I be experiencing the opposite feelings right now? I mean, I'm being a kick-ass mom right now and it's still not enough for them."
My husband came home to my "sitting in the princess tent, playing 'bat-girl'" phase of the day and man I was RELIEVED when he walked in the door. I don't think I've jumped up like that to greet him in a long time! When I joined him upstairs he asked me how my day was going...hanging my head in defeat I answered, "it was going really well...I mean, it IS going really well...I don't know, I'm just exhausted. I feel like it's never enough. I'M never enough"
He looked up at me and responded so certainly, "you're doing an amazing job babe. You're doing great." And just like that I realized something...something that I always knew deep down, but always felt too much guilt to believe.
Sometimes the best for your kids isn't spending an entire day being interactive with them, sometimes what's best for your kids, is giving them the opportunity to interact on their own; to explore their imagination and digest the world around them through the experiences that they create. Of course it's important to love on your children and be intentional with them but it doesn't have to look like spending hour upon hours doing everything they want to do, because chances are...it's not going to be enough.
Don't let your guilt keep you from knowing your own strength as a parent and what you feel is best for your children. Just because you aren't doing life just like the book teaches or how your friend is down the street, trust in your ability to be the parent that God made you to be and stick to your gut!
Challenge yourself to be great everyday but don't let others define your level of greatness.
Party on people...it's Friday and all you parents out there ARE doing a kick ass job! And P.S. because I had such a divided poll yesterday, I will be doing a makeup tutorial on Monday's blog post for those of you looking to "up" your foundation game! #makeupmonday :)
As always, thank you for stopping by!
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