“There are many reasons love may not be flourishing in our lives, and a messy, demanding mind is reason one.” ~ Brenda Shoshanna
Today is a hard day.
There’s a cat who pranced along our back fence, and the dogs are screaming at the back door thinking it is still on their property. The snow is piling up.
The new recipe I am making tonight is nonexistent as of 6:37 p.m. I usually cook dinner at 5:30 so my kids can eat, bathe, and make it to bed by 8.
My children are downstairs watching a third hour of TV. And I feel horribly frustrated and defeated by this.
I despise most TV. I took many media studies classes in college and grad school, and I feel most of the time it is mindless noise with which life is better without. I like artsy films and slow-paced children’s programming. I pretty much love anything by Focus Features if that helps to classify my media snobbery.
So it perturbs me immensely when my children want to watch TV for long periods. I feel like a failure.
They should be tinkering with Magna Tiles or building a castle with blocks. They should be reading our beautiful picture books, creating a visual story with their superior mind as we turn each page. They should be running in the backyard flying kites or digging in the sandbox or climbing their rock wall. They should be designing a marble maze or starting a non-profit to feed the homeless. Wait, what?
Yep, this is how it begins, my friends. One day it is mommy guilt, the next is extreme expectations for your child.
When we start to hear all these “shoulds” coming out of our mouths, let’s step back and see it for what it is.
Projection—the unconscious transfer of one’s own desires or emotions to another person—can happen even with your kids.
When we as parents, especially the stay-at-home kind, start to wonder about our value in the world, we can push our children to be something we feel we are not.
Am I writing enough? Am I reading enough? Am I present enough for them? Am I doing enough to let the world know I exist?
Yes, we want to encourage our children, but I want to make sure I’m supporting them to be themselves, to develop their personalities naturally without too much pushing or coercing from me.
Yes, we want to believe in our children, but first we need to believe in ourselves, our worth, see what our energy nurtures, and be at peace with that.
As I let my monkey mind wind down, I see we did do all these things throughout the day; we played, built, read, exercised.
And while I am concerned about their TV intake—too much creates addiction, being too rigid creates craving—once my heart has checked in with my head and some kind of understanding now exists over this issue, I see our day for what it is; it’s a hard day.
Today is a chance to practice my word I picked this year: enough.
I am a good enough mother. I am a good enough person. Why are my expectations for myself so high? Is this demanding spilling over to my kids?
Yes, we watched a lot of TV today. But that’s okay. Some days are like that. (I can only imagine what parents are feeling about the amount of TV they’ve let their kids watch after three major snowstorms have hit back to back!)
I relax. The screens fade as another transition in our day burgeons. We finish dinner, and I simply sit back observing what is good about now. Gratitude can change a situation.
They are fed, cleaned, and utterly loved. They are probably happy they’ve had a day off from Mom’s prodding. (Maybe they think those days are the hardest.)
I’ve taken the pressure off all of us, at least for tonight.