Status update: today my family did nothing.
How often do you read that on your newsfeed? I’m guessing not too often.
I’m not the PTO queen. My kids don’t get straight As. We aren’t overachievers. I don’t care about making a gazillion dollars. (What?! Crazy, I know.) I never work overtime and I refuse to cram a dozen extra-curricular activities into my kid’s lives. Just what kind of mother am I? What will become of my kids?
Well, it just so happens, I know that I am a great parent and I love my family fiercely.
Society tells me that a busy parent is the parent I should strive to be. These are the things that would define my success. I should work that 40+ hour job, shuttle my kids to multiple team practices, attend the PTA meetings, do all the fundraisers, keep a clean house, have nutritious meals ready and don’t forget to hit the gym somewhere in between.
Well screw that.
Yeah I said it. While I respect all of the gotta-be-busy parents, it’s just not for me. I know there must be more of you out there feeling the same way. You see, I’ve worked three jobs, I’ve done the fundraising, I’ve shuttled the sports teams. Was my family any happier for it? No. Why? Because there is no time to just be, or just as important, be there for each other.
So often anymore we are bombarded with pressures from peers, social networks, and media rousing our parenting insecurities. Am I good enough? Do I discipline correctly? Are my meals nourishing enough? I should be doing this, this and this.
We doubt ourselves. And this doubt is dangerous. This doubt muddles our true parenting instincts.
Tim’s parents lay down a razor sharp curfew.
Megan’s mom regulates screen time like nobody’s business.
I don’t think the neighbors kids even know what sugar is.
(This must mean my kids are doomed to be sugar induced zombies roaming the streets at all hours. Right? It’s official, I’m a failure.)
I’m not sorry to say, my kids aren’t class president and team captain or reaping the benefits of a dozen extra-curricular activities. I don’t have a prestigious career that brings home a hefty salary with benefits. Some nights, dinner consists of bean burritos from the corner market. Guess what? I’m okay with this and I’m proud of my own parenting decisions. We love our life just the way it is.
These four quotes remind me that I’m doing a damn good job. Maybe they will help you too.
1. “Time together is more valuable than money.” ~ Jim Rohn
Yes we need to pay the bills, but it’s essential to find this time to be together and just be.
2. “The essence of pleasure is spontaneity.” ~ Germain Greer
Having open time in our day allows us to drop everything and go for that picnic in the park, or see that movie the kids have been talking about, etc. Go make memories.
3. “Children need presence, not presents.” ~ Unknown
Connection is key. Talk to each other and hear about each other’s dreams, troubles and interests.
4. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
By comparing our parenting techniques to others we lose site of the uniqueness of our own family. By staying mindful of our own good morals and ideals, we will know what is right for us.
I love these quotes. They remind me to slow down and stay mindful when life gets hectic.
Maybe your family thrives on a full schedule and you are able to stay mindful and carve out down time from a jam-packed itinerary. I have learned that is just not my style and I shouldn’t feel any less for it.
My advice: acknowledge your own parenting style and own it. Don’t let the expectations of others get the best of you. Lose the doubt and insecurity. Only you know what works for your family. But, no matter what, always make time for each other.
The secret to perfect parenting is being present in each moment, regardless of what that moment is.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Carrie Collins
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own